Sent: Friday, June 15, 2018 3:05 PM
To: walter block
Walter: I have one question: the following is, I think, a fair summary of Hoppe’s argument (one accepted by both you and Murray).
Argumentation ethics argues the non-aggression principle is a presupposition of argumentation and so cannot be rationally denied in discourse.
while it is certainly better than evoking natural rights, which are a total myth that cannot be demonstrated to exist, why do you think it provides a foundation for libertarianism? it seems to me that at best, it says that NAP can’t be rejected in discourse. but can’t one be a libertarian without engaging in discourse about it. e.g. you could just live your life as a libertarian (which is what i do, as best i can) and simply not discuss it at all (personally, i prefer to discuss theoretical physics) in which case it’s necessary to provide another justification for libertarians (i justify it – to myself of course, since i don’t discuss it – as being most compatible with my psychological disposition). that has been perfectly adequate to me. R
Dear R: I regard my friend Hans Hoppe as one of the most gifted libertarian theoreticians not only now actively writing, but in all of recorded history. In my view, his argumentation ethics is one of the many jewels in his crown. I not only think it provides a foundation for libertarianism, I think it provides the very best foundation for libertarianism now available to us, thanks to him.
You are quite right that one can be “a libertarian without engaging in discourse about it…” All one need do is live according to the non aggression principle. However, Hans demonstrates that the only way to JUSTIFY a philosophical principle is through discourse. And that therefore those who argue against libertarianism engage in a performative contradiction, since arguing implies adherence to the NAP.
Here is a bibliography on this issue:
Hoppe’s “argumentation ethic” defense of libertarian rights was first published, to my knowledge, in three articles in 1988: “On the Ultimate Justification of the Ethics of Private Property,” Liberty (September 1988); “The Justice of Economic Efficiency,” Austrian Economics Newsletter (Winter 1988); and a longer piece, “From the Economics of Laissez Faire to the Ethics of Libertarianism,” in: Walter E. Block & Llewellyn H. Rockwell, eds., Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard (Mises Institute, 1988). These were included as chapters 10, 9, and 8, respectively, of Hoppe’s book The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Kluwer, 1993). The most definitive elaboration of Hoppe’s theory is found in “The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism Is Morally Indefensible,” chapter 7 of his monumental A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Kluwer 1989; more info; hereinafter referred to as TSC ). This chapter is similar to the 1988 chapter in Man, Economy, and Liberty. These and other materials are available at Hoppe’s website.
Hoppe, 1988A, 1988B, 1988C, 1988D, 1993, 1995
Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988A. “On the Ultimate Justification of the Ethics of Private Property,” Liberty, September
Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988B. “The Justice of Economic Efficiency,” Austrian Economics Newsletter. Winter
Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988C. “From the Economics of Laissez Faire to the Ethics of Libertarianism,” in: Walter E. Block & Llewellyn H. Rockwell, eds., Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute.
Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1988D. “Utilitarians and Randians vs Reason.” Liberty (November): 53–54; http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf
Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1993. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 204-207
Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1995. Economic Science and the Austrian Method. Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://www.mises.org/esandtam/pes1.asp;
These were included as chapters 10, 9, and 8, respectively, of Hoppe’s book The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Kluwer, 1993). The most definitive elaboration of Hoppe’s theory is found in “The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism Is Morally Indefensible,” chapter 7 of his monumental A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Kluwer 1989; more info; hereinafter referred to as TSC ). This chapter is similar to the 1988 chapter in Man, Economy, and Liberty. These and other materials are available at Hoppe’s website.
supporters of Hoppe’s argumentation ethics::
Block, 2004, 2011; Gordon, 1988; Kinsella, 1996, 2002, 2009, 2015; Meng, 2002; Rothbard, 1988, Van Dun, 2009.
Block, Walter E. 2004. “Are Alienability and the Apriori of Argument Logically Incompatible?” Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 1; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2004/256gord6.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2011. “Rejoinder to Murphy and Callahan on Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 631–639;
Eabrasu, Marian. 2009. “A Reply to the Current Critiques Formulated Against Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics,” Libertarian Papers. Vol. I, No. 1;
Gordon, David. 1988. “Radical & Quasi-Kantian.” Liberty (November): 46–47; http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf
Kinsella, N. Stephan. 1996. “New Rationalist Directions in Libertarian Rights Theory.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 12 (12): 323–38.
Kinsella, N. Stephan N. 2009. “Revisiting Argumentation Ethics.” March 13;
Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2002 . “Defending Argumentation Ethics: Reply to Murphy & Callahan,” Anti-state.com, Sept. 19 [July 2]; http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=312
Kinsella, N. Stephan N. 2011. “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide.” May 27;
Kinsella, N. Stephan N. 2015. “Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics and Its Critics.” August 11;
Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics and Its Critics
(If you read only one of these entries, read this one.)
Meng, Jude Chua Soo. 2002. “Hopp(e)ing Onto New Ground: A Rothbardian Proposal for Thomistic Natural Law as the Basis for Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Praxeological Defense of Private Property.” Working paper, http://www.mises.org/journals/scholar/meng.pdf
Rothbard, Murray. 1988. “Beyond Is and Ought.” Liberty (November): 44–45; http://mises.org/daily/4629/Beyond-Is-and-Ought; http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf
Van Dun, Frank. 2009. “Argumentation Ethics and The Philosophy of Freedom.” Libertarian Papers, No. 19; http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/19-van-dun-argumentation-ethics/
critics of Hoppe’s argumentation ethics::
Friedman, 1988; Long, 2004; Murphy and Callahan, 2006; Steele, 1988; Yeager, 1988.
Friedman, David. 1988. “The Trouble with Hoppe: Some Brief Comments on Hoppe’s Justification of the Private Property Ethic.” Liberty, 2.2, November, 53–54.; http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/On_Hoppe.html; http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf
Long, Roderick. 2004. “The Hoppriori Argument.” May 17;
Murphy, Robert P. and Gene Callahan. 2006. “Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics: A Critique.” The Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol. 20, No. 2, Spring, pp. 53-64; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_2/20_2_3.pdf
Steele, David Ramsay. 1988. “One Muddle After Another.” Liberty (November): 45–46; http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf
Yeager, Leland. 1988. “Raw Assertions.” Liberty (November): 45–46; http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf
Also see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentation_ethics
12:18 pm on June 16, 2018 Email Walter E. Block
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