Kellogg Center Hosts Workshop on Anarchy, State, and Utopia

The Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics will host a workshop on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia on Thursday, August 8, 2024, in the Goodall Room (formerly Multipurpose Room) in the Newman Library.

Since its publication, Anarchy, State, and Utopia has become a classic of political philosophy. The book is full of innovative ideas and intriguing thought experiments that have had an immense influence on the discipline as well as related fields. The book is best-known for its critique of John Rawls’ theory of justice, the defense of Nozick’s entitlement theory of justice, and the justification of a minimal state. However, the book also contains discussions of invisible hand explanations, the moral standing of animals, hedonism, Marxian political theory, workplace democracy, utopian thinking, and more. Many of these discussions draw on methods and themes in philosophy, politics, and economics.

The workshop offers a forum for scholars to present their most recent work on Nozick and PPE-related themes drawn from Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

1. Speakers

Daniel Layman is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Davidson College. He is the author of Locke Among the Radicals: Liberty and Property in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2020) and (with Michael Huemer) Is Political Authority an Illusion? A Debate (Routledge, 2022). He is also Editor-in-Chief of Locke Studies.

Eric Mack is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Tulane University. He has published widely on topics within moral and political philosophy and on the history of political philosophy – especially on the moral foundations of natural rights, property rights, distributive justice, and the extent (if any) of legitimate state coercion. He has written extensively on the political and legal philosophies of John Locke, F.A. Hayek, and Robert Nozick. He is the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on “The Political Philosophy of Robert Nozick.”

Helga Varden is a Professor of Philosophy, Gender and Women Studies, and Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is one of the executive editors of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. Her main research interests are Kant’s practical philosophy, legal-political philosophy, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of sex and love. Her first book Sex, Love, and Gender: A Kantian Theory (Oxford University Press, 2020) won the 2023 North American Kant Society’s Senior Scholar Prize. She is currently working on her second monograph—Transforming Our Social Contracts: A Kantian Theory of Justice with Applications—which is under contract with Oxford University Press.

Fabian Wendt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and core faculty member of the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Virginia Tech. He has written on the legitimation of private property, taxation and the welfare state, the morality of making compromises in politics, and the justification of political authority. He is the author of Authority (Polity Press 2018) and Compromise, Peace, and Public Justification: Political Morality beyond Justice (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).

2. Workshop schedule

9:15-9:30. Gathering and Refreshments

9:30-9:45. Welcoming Remarks: Michael Moehler

9:45-10:45. Eric Mack: “Robert Nozick and the Separateness of Persons: A Reconstruction”

10:45-11:00. Coffee Break 

11:00-12:00. Fabian Wendt: “Liberty, Rights, and the Prisoner Problem”

12:00-2:00. Lunch Break

2:00-3:00. Helga Varden: TBD

3:00-3:15. Coffee Break

3:15-4:15. Dan Layman: “Nozick’s Rights”

4:15-4:30. Concluding Remarks

6:00. Dinner (on invitation)

3. Attendance and format

The workshop is open to the public. All faculty and students are cordially invited to attend.

During the workshop, each speaker will have 1 hour devoted to discussing their work, with the first thirty minutes of presentation by the speaker followed by a discussion of the paper.

For more information about this workshop, please contact Fabian Wendt (

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact at least ten business days before the event.

Share this post: