Features
Featured Essay
Featured Link

Full Collections
Essays (425)
Quotations (6095)
Links (715)
Books (232)

Other Pages
About Us
Authors
Awards
Bookseller Affiliations
Contact Us
Cookies
Editorial Board
Excellent Essays
Excellent Sites
Liberal Magic
Mush Quotations
Our New Look
Privacy Policy
Sign Up!
Submissions
Amazon.com online bookstore
  


Robert Nozick
1938 -

Professor of philosophy at Harvard University, author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974) and other works


From the beginnings of recorded thought, intellectuals have told us their activity is most valuable. Plato valued the rational faculty above courage and the appetites and deemed that philosophers should rule; Aristotle held that intellectual contemplation was the highest activity. It is not surprising that surviving texts record this high evaluation of intellectual activity. The people who formulated evaluations, who wrote them down with reasons to back them up, were intellectuals, after all. They were praising themselves. Those who valued other things more than thinking things through with words, whether hunting or power or uninterrupted sensual pleasure, did not bother to leave enduring written records. Only the intellectual worked out a theory of who was best.

1997 - from "Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?", published in Socratic Puzzles (Harvard University Press, 1997)
The minimal state is inspiring as well as right.

The intellectual wants the whole society to be a school writ large, to be like the environment where he did so well and was so well appreciated. By incorporating standards of reward that are different from the wider society, the schools guarantee that some will experience downward mobility later. ... It is not surprising that those successful by the norms of a school system should resent a society, adhering to different norms, which does not grant them the same success.

1997 - from "Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?", published in Socratic Puzzles (Harvard University Press, 1997)