11th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Walshe

Garvan Walshe

Towards a Neo-Roman Minimal State

Under Robert Nozick’s invisible hand account of state formation a dominant protective agency be- comes a state when it can impose its rule on anarchists who would prefer to enforce their natural rights themselves. I show that this process (and a similar one proposed by Eric Mack) fails to respect the separateness of persons. I then use Philip Petit’s concept of freedom as non-domination, modified to consider only rights-violations and not omissions as interference, to construct an alternative argument for how a protective agency might become a state. Though such a state still violates some of anarchists’ natural Hohfeldian powers, it leaves them protected from arbitrary interference by the state and respects the separateness of persons. The argument is neutral between left- and right-libertarianism.