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...
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