Abstract

Marcel Wissenburg, "The Concept of Nature in Libertarianism", December 2011

Can libertarianism ever take on a truly ecological, rather than shallow environmentalist, hue? I examine consequentialist, deontological and teleological versions of left- and right-libertarianism on three dimensions: their concepts of metaphysical nature, biological nature, and human nature – the latter subdivided into what characterizes humans and what distinguishes them from other animals. While the almost exclusive focus of libertarians (regardless of ethical or political inclinations) on economics and political economy helps to explain their current disregard for nature, I suggest that a positive ‘new world’ versus a negative ‘old world’ appreciation of wilderness helps to identify where evolution might be feasible.

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