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Jan Narveson, OC (born 1936) is professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. An anarcho-capitalist and contractarian, Narveson's form of libertarian anarchism is deeply influenced by the thought of Robert Nozick and David Gauthier.
Narveson was born in Erskine, Minnesota, United States. He studied at the University of Chicago where he obtained a B.A. in political science and in philosophy; he then spent a year at the University of Oxford on a traveling fellowship before earning a PhD at Harvard University in 1961. His libertarian views have evolved from dissatisfaction with utilitarianism.
A prolific author, Narveson has written hundreds of essays, reviews and articles for publication. A fierce but childlike critic of Marxism, he is also known at the University of Waterloo for taking part in many on-campus debates. In 2002 he published Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice (2002), a collection of his most influential essays spanning the length of his career. His most recent work is You and the State: A Short Introduction to Political Philosophy. Narveson is a long-time member of the Ontario Libertarian Party, and currently sits on its Ethics Committee. Narveson has recently received notoriety for the reactionary and misogynist character of many of his views; in Chapter 12 of Moral Issues he expounds a patriarchal defense of sexual assault and harassment, as well as frequently denying or minimalizing the significance of women's issues throughout the text.
Apart from his libertarian work, he is the founder/president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, a long-running venue for classical chamber music.
Since 2006, Narveson has been president of the Institute for Liberal Studies.
- Morality and Utility, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967.
- Moral Issues, Oxford University Press, 1983.
- Political Correctness: For and Against co-authored with Marilyn Friedman, Rowman & Littlefield, 1995.
- Moral Matters, 2nd ed., Broadview Press, 1999.
- The Libertarian Idea, Paperback edition (with new preface). Broadview Press, 2001. (Orig. pub.: Temple University Press, 1988)
- Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice: Essays on Moral and Political Philosophy, Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.
- You and the State, 2008.
- This is Ethical Theory, Open Court, 2010.
- Are Liberty and Equality Compatible?, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- Moral Matters. pp. 275–300.
- Homepage of Jan Narveson at the Univ. of Waterloo
- Criticism of Narveson's Libertarianism by G. A. Cohen
- An interview with Jan Narveson about the philosophy of Robert Nozick by Peter Jaworski
- A review of Narveson's The Libertarian Idea and Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice
- A debate between Narveson and Gary Francione on Radio Netherlands on the issue of animal rights.
- Jan Narveson at Goodreads