- 1.(metaphysical) A view that seeks to protect the reality of human free will by supposing that a free choice is not causally determined but not random either (see dilemma of determinism ). What is needed is the conception of a rational, responsible, intervention in the ongoing course of events. In some developments a special category of agent-causation is posited, but its relationship with the neurophysiological workings of the brain and body, or indeed any moderately naturalistic view of ourselves, tends to be very uneasy, and it is frequently derided as the desire to protect the fantasy of an agency situated outside the realm of nature altogether.2.(political) In politics, libertarians advocate the maximization of individual rights, especially those connected with the operation of a free market, and the minimizing of the role of the state. In the libertarian vision, exercises of state power for positive ends, such as amelioration of social disadvantage through social welfare programmes, constitute infringements of the rights of others (‘taxation is forced labour’). The state is confined to a ‘nightwatchman’ role of maintaining order and providing only those public services that will not arise spontaneously through the free market. The most influential text of modern libertarianism is the American philosopher Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.