Have you ever wondered what libertarians think about vaccine mandates? About gun control? About racial and sexual inequalities? While libertarianism is well known as a political theory relating to the scope and justification of state authority, the breadth and depth of libertarian work on a wide range of other topics in social and political philosophy is less well known. This handbook is the first definitive reference on libertarianism that offers an in-depth survey of the central ideas from across philosophy, politics, and economics, including applications to contemporary policy issues.
The forty chapters in this work provide an encyclopedic overview of libertarian scholarship, from foundational debates about natural rights theories vs. utilitarian approaches, to policy debates over immigration, punishment and policing, and intellectual property. Each chapter presents a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of historical and contemporary libertarian thought on its subject, and thus serves as an essential guide to current scholarship, and a starting place for discovering future lines of research. The book also contains a section on criticisms of libertarianism, written by leading scholars from the feminist, republican, socialist, and conservative perspectives, as well as a section on how libertarian political theory relates to various schools of economic thought, such as the Chicago, Austrian, Bloomington, and Public Choice schools.
This book is an essential and comprehensive guide for anyone interested in libertarianism, whether sympathizer or critic.
Table of Contents
Introduction Foundations 1. Natural Rights 2. Freedom 3. Welfare 4. Contractarianism 5. Virtue Ethics 6. Objectivism Key Concepts 7. Self-Ownership 8. Property Rights 9. Liberty 10. Force and Coercion 11. Political Legitimacy and Authority Institutional Regimes 12. Anarchism 13. Minimal Statism 14. Classical Liberalism 15. Left Libertarianism Social Issues 16. Race 17. Sexual Ethics 18. Sex and Gender 19. Class Domestic Policy Issues 20. The Welfare State 21. Guns and Self-Defense 22. Children and the Family 23. Public Health and Healthcare Policy 24. Policing and Punishment 25. Taxation Global Policy Issues 26. Colonialism and Territorial Rights 27. Immigration 28. Rectification and Historic Injustice 29. War and Humanitarian Intervention 30. Environmental Issues 31. Intellectual Property Libertarianism and Economic Thought 32. Libertarianism and the Chicago School of Economics 33. Libertarianism and the Austrian School of Economics 34. Libertarianism and Public Choice 35. Libertarianism and the Bloomington School Critiques of Libertarianism 36. Feminist Critiques 37. Liberal Egalitarian Critiques 38. Conservative Critiques 39. Marxist Critiques 40. Republican Critiques
Matt Zwolinski is Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego, USA, and Director of USD’s Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy.
Benjamin Ferguson is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, UK, and Director of their program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
"This is a terrific collection of essays by leading thinkers. It covers just about every major topic in libertarian thought, plus some leading critiques. It should make an essential reference for anyone studying political philosophy."
- Michael Huemer, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado Boulder
"Libertarians are famously argumentative. This book introduces readers to everything that libertarians are arguing about – with conventional wisdom, critics, and each other. It’s an encyclopedic treatment of libertarian – and anti-libertarian – thought. If you love the free play of ideas, this is the book for you."
- Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics, George Mason University