Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Narveson, Jan

  • Malcolm Murray
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_485

Jan Narveson, distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1961. For his scholarly achievements, he is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and largely for his contributions to chamber music, he is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Narveson began as a utilitarian, writing Morality and Utility in 1968, but he soon gravitated toward contractarianism, principally due to the influence of David Gauthier. Unlike Gauthier, however, Narveson believed that contractarianism leads to libertarianism. It is this notion, clearly explicated in his 1988 book, The Libertarian Idea, that gained Narveson international renown.


Everyone favors global justice. Not everyone agrees on what that entails. Libertarians, such as Jan Narveson and Robert Nozick, believe justice entails the preservation of individual liberty. This precludes assault and coercion, and, among other things, general interference in people’s pursuits (when such...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Murray M (ed) (2007) Liberty, games, and contracts: Jan Narveson and the defence of libertarianism. Ashgate, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  2. Narveson J (1967) Morality and utility. Johns Hopkins Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  3. Narveson J (ed) (1983) Moral issues. Oxford University Press, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  4. Narveson J (1988) The libertarian idea. Temple University Press, Philadelphia (re-published by Broadview Press, 2001)Google Scholar
  5. Narveson J (1993) Moral matters. Broadview Press, Peterborough (2nd edition, 1999)Google Scholar
  6. Narveson J (2002) Respecting persons in theory and practice. Rowman & Littlefield, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  7. Narveson J (2008) You and the state. Rowman & Littlefield, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  8. Narveson J (2010) This is ethical theory. Open Court, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  9. Narveson J, Sanders JT (eds) (1996) For and against the state. Rowman & Littlefield, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  10. Narveson J, Sterba JP (2010) Are liberty and equality compatible? Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada