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The Ethics of Liberty
Paperback cover
Author(s) Murray N. Rothbard
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre(s) Political philosophy, Ethics
Publisher New York University Press. New York, N.Y. May 1, 1998.
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback) & e-book, audio-CD
Pages 336 pp (Online e-book edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-391-02371-3 (Paperback edition)
OCLC Number 7813705
Dewey Decimal 323.44/01 19
LC Classification JC585 .R69 1982

The Ethics of Liberty, by American economist and historian Murray N. Rothbard, first published in 1982, is an exposition of the libertarian political position. It roots the case for freedom in the concept of natural rights and applies it to a host of practical problems.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe, who wrote the introduction to later editions of the book, has described the 273-page The Ethics of Liberty as Murray Rothbard's second magnum opus, the other being Man, Economy, and State.[1]


Part I: Introduction: Natural Law[]

1. Natural Law and Reason
2. Natural Law as "Science"
3. Natural Law Versus Positive Law
4. Natural Law and Natural Rights
5. The Task of Political Philosophy

Part II: A Theory of Liberty[]

6. A Crusoe Social Philosophy
7. Interpersonal Relations: Voluntary Exchange
8. Interpersonal Relations: Ownership and Aggression
9. Property and Criminality
10. The Problem of Land Theft
11. Land Monopoly, Past and Present
12. Self-Defense
13. Punishment and Proportionality
14. Children and Rights
15. "Human Rights" as Property Rights
16. Knowledge, True and False
17. Bribery
18. The Boycott
19. Property Rights and the Theory of Contracts
20. Lifeboat Situations
21. The "Rights" of Animals

Part III: The State Versus Liberty[]

22. The Nature of the State
23. The Inner Contradictions of the State
24. The Moral Status of Relations to the State
25. On Relations Between States

Part IV: Modern Alternative Theories of Liberty[]

26. Utilitarian Free-Market Economics

  • Introduction: Utilitarian Social Philosophy
  • The Unanimity and Compensation Principles
  • Ludwig von Mises and "Value-Free" Laissez-Faire

27. Isaiah Berlin on Negative Freedom
28. F.A. Hayek and the Concept of Coercion
29. Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State

Part V: Toward a Theory of Strategy for Liberty[]

30. Toward a Theory of Strategy for Liberty

Release history[]


External links[]

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