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Template:Redirect Template:Infobox politician John Hospers (June 9, 1918 – June 12, 2011) was an American philosopher and politician.[1] In 1972 he was the first presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, and the only minor party candidate to receive an electoral vote in the 1972 U.S. Presidential election.[2]


Education and career[]

Born in Pella, Iowa, Hospers graduated from Central College. Hospers earned advanced degrees from the University of Iowa and Columbia University. He conducted research, wrote, and taught in areas of philosophy, including aesthetics and ethics. He taught philosophy at Brooklyn College and at the University of Southern California, where for many years he was chairman of the philosophy department and professor emeritus.[3]

Hospers' books include: Meaning and Truth in the Arts (1946), Introductory Readings in Aesthetics (1969), Artistic Expression (1971), Law and the Market (1985), Introduction to Philosophical Analysis (now in the 4th edition, 1996), Human Conduct (now in its 3rd edition, 1995), Understanding the Arts (1982), and Libertarianism – A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow (1971).[4] He was editor of three anthologies, and contributed to books edited by others. He wrote more than 100 articles in various scholarly and popular journals.[5]

Hospers was editor of The Personalist (1968–1982) and The Monist (1982–1992),[4] and was a senior editor at Liberty magazine.[6]

Friendship with Ayn Rand[]

During the period he taught philosophy at Brooklyn College, Hospers was much interested in Objectivism. He appeared on radio shows with Ayn Rand, and devoted considerable attention to her ideas in his ethics textbook Human Conduct.[7]

According to Rand's biographer, Barbara Branden, Hospers met Rand when she addressed the student body at Brooklyn College. They became friends, and had lengthy philosophical conversations. Rand's discussions with Hospers contributed to her decision to write nonfiction. Hospers read Atlas Shrugged, which he considered an aesthetic triumph. Hospers also became convinced of the validity of Rand's moral and political views, but disagreed with her about issues of epistemology, the subject of their extensive correspondence.[8] Rand broke with Hospers after he criticized her talk on "Art as Sense of Life," before the American Society of Aesthetics at Harvard.[9]

1972 presidential candidacy[]

In the 1972 U.S. Presidential election, Hospers and Tonie Nathan were the first presidential and vice-presidential nominees, respectively, of the newly formed Libertarian Party.[4] The Libertarian Party poorly organized at that time, and Hospers and Nathan managed to get on the ballot in only two states[10] (Washington and Colorado), receiving 3,674 popular votes.[11] They received one electoral vote from faithless elector Roger MacBride, a Republican from Virginia, resulting in Nathan becoming the first woman to have received an electoral vote in a United States presidential election.[10][12]

Electoral history[]


  • United States presidential election, 1972
    • Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew (R) (inc.) – 47,168,710 (60.7%) and 520 electoral votes (49 states carried)
    • George McGovern/Sargent Shriver (D) – 29,173,222 (37.5%) and 17 electoral votes (1 state and D.C. carried)
    • John Hospers/Theodora Nathan (Libertarian) – 3,674 (0.0%) and 1 electoral vote
    • John G. Schmitz/Thomas J. Anderson (American Independent) – 1,100,868 (1.4%)
    • Linda Jenness/Andrew Pulley (Socialist Workers) – 83,380 (0.1%)
    • Benjamin Spock/Julius Hobson (People's) – 78,759 (0.1%)
    • Others – 135,414 (0.2%)


In 2002, an hour-long video about Hospers' life, work, and philosophy was released by the Liberty Fund of Indianapolis as part of its Classics of Liberty series.[13]


  • Meaning and Truth in the Arts. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1946.
  • "The Concept of Artistic Expression". Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 55 1954, pp.313-344.
  • "The Croce-Collingwood Theory of Art". Philosophy, 31 (119) 1956, pp.291-308
    • Reprinted in Artistic Expression (edited by John Hospers). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971.
  • "Literature and Human Nature". , 17 (1) 1958, pp.45-57.
  • "Implied Truths in Literature". The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 19, (1) Autumn 1960, pp.37-46.
  • "Problems of Aesthetics" in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (edited by Paul Edwards). New York: Macmillan, 1967.
  • Libertarianism – A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow. Los Angeles: Nash, 1971.
    • Santa Barbara, CA: Reason Press, 1972.
  • Artistic Expression. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971.
  • "Will Rothbard's Free Market Justice Suffice? No". Reason, May 1973, pp.18-25.
  • "Review of Brand Blanshard, Reason and Belief]", Libertarian Review, V (5) September-October 1976.
  • "Truth and Fictional Characters", Journal of Aesthetic Education, 14 (3) July 1980, pp.5-17.
  • "Libertarianism and Legal Paternalism", Journal of Libertarian Studies, summer 1980.
    • Reprinted in: The Libertarian Reader (edited by Tibor Machan). Rowman and Littlefield, 1982.
  • Understanding the Arts. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982.
  • "Rothbards Liberty Reviewed, The Freeman, 32 (8) August 1982.
  • "Freedom and Utopias", The Freeman, September, Vol 33 (9) September 1983.
  • "Freedom and Democracy", The Freeman, June 1984.
  • "The Meanings of Freedom", The Freeman, 34 (9) September 1984.
  • "Law and the Market". Free Market Foundation of Southern Africa, 1985.
  • "Artistic Creativity", The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 43 (3) Spring 1985, pp.243-255.
  • "Comment on Ellen Frankel Paul, "Property Rights and Eminent Domain", The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, mai, 38 (5) May 1988.
  • "Conversations with Ayn Rand: Part I", Liberty, 3 (6) 1990, pp.23–26.
  • "Conversations with Ayn Rand: Part II", Liberty 4 (1) 1990, pp.42–52.
  • "Regulation And Productivity", The Freeman 44 (7) July 1994.
  • Human Conduct, 1995.
  • "What Libertarianism Is" in Liberty for the 21st Century (edited by Tibor Machan and Douglas Rasmussen). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1995.
  • Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, 1996.
  • “A Libertarian Argument Against Open Borders”, Journal of Libertarian Studies, 13 (2) 1998.
  • "Interview with John Hospers by Karen Minto", Full Context, 10, (9) May 1998.
  • "Rand’s aesthetics: A personal view", Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, 2 (2) Spring 2001, pp.311–334.


  • Introductory Readings in Aesthetics, New York: Free Press, 1969.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy Wikiliberal.[14]

Audio / video[]

See also[]


  1. "John Hospers, first Libertarian presidential nominee, dies at 93". Libertarian Party (press release). June 13, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  2. Walker, Jesse (June 13th, 2011) "John Hospers, RIP", Reason Online. Retrieved June 14th, 2011.
  3. "Who Is John Hospers? First Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate (1972)",
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Hamowy, Ronald (2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. SAGE Publications. pp. 228. ISBN 1412965802, 9781412965804.
  5. White, James E. (2005). Contemporary Moral Problems. Cengage Learning. pp. 321. ISBN 0534584306, 9780534584306.
  6. Cox, Stephen (June 17, 2011) "John Hospers, R.I.P.", Liberty. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  7. Berliner, Michael S. (1995). Letters of Ayn Rand. Dutton. pp. 502-564. ISBN 0-525-93946-6.
  8. Branden, Barbara (1986). The Passion of Ayn Rand. Doubleday & Company. ISBN 0-385-19171-5.
  9. Branden, Barbara, The Passion of Ayn Rand. ibid. p. 324.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Dionne, E. J. Why Americans Hate Politics. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-671-68255-2
  11. 11.0 11.1 "1972 Presidential General Election Results", Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
  12. Doherty, Brian (2008). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. PublicAffairs. pp. 392-393. ISBN 1586485725, 9781586485726.
  13. John Hospers: The Intellectual Portrait Series, Liberty Fund.
  14. [ John Hospers[, Wikiliberal, Web, Dec. 4, 2012.

External links[]


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