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Balkan Journal of Philosophy

Volume 10, Issue 2, 2018

Radu Uszkai
Pages 115-122
DOI: 10.5840/bjp201810213

Robert Nozick’s Evolutionist Turn in Ethics

The purpose of the present study is that of examining what I call Robert Nozick’s “evolutionist turn” in ethics. More specifically, my aim is to provide an answer to the following question: what type of ethical theory does Robert Nozick sketch in his last book, Invariances? My first objective will be that of delineating the philosophical framework which will accommodate my future discussion, highlighting the distinction between the metaphysical and scientific approaches to ethics as proposed by Ken Binmore, but also Emanuel Socaciu's taxonomy of ethical theories, which stems from the particular way in which moral philosophers tackle the nature of ethical norms and moral motivation. I then set forth to show that, in the philosophical framework previously described, Robert Nozick's approach from Anarchy, State, and Utopia should be seen as a metaphysical one. The last and most important part of my study aims to show how Nozick's “evolutionist turn” took place and developed, from his perspective on rationality in The Nature of Rationality, to his ethical theory advanced in Invariances.