Re: Nozick's 'Non-Coercive' Autism
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 23:22:06 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 3/19/97 8:55:45 AM, Reilly Jones wrote:

>No, it is Nozick himself who utterly abandons intellectual debate in the
>interest of "non-coercion." He held that it would be wrong "to get someone
>to believe something whether he wants to believe it or not."

I'm unsure if you directly quote Nozick, here. I doubt you do (but
admittedly I've not read his most recent work, and he has of late strayed
from his once-libertarian views). Sadly, I am far from my library, and have
no copy of "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" at hand. If memory serves, however,
it provides ample quotes of Nozick discussing the absolutely vital role of
intellectual debate in shaping human character. Perhaps some interested and
well-equiped philosopher will oblige us with Nozick's own words on the topic.

I'd said: "Autism, in the sense of folding in on oneself, follows from
with a violent world--not a non-coercive one."

>Factually, autism does not follow from contact with a violent world.
>[discussion of clinical aspects of autism follows.]

Yes, I suspected as much; hence my reference to a special sense of the word
(following your lead). What I've studies of autism has left me thinking that
nobody really knows what causes "autism" as clinical psychologists use the
word. Theories abound, of course; cures do not.

>The article goes on to discuss different manifestations of the social
>problems that develop when the focus of attention is too narrow, and the
>working memory is inefficient. This is exactly the problem with those
>individuals who adopt Nozick's radically "non-coercion" philosophy of: 'I
>do not interfere with others. Let them not interfere with me.'

Nozick's argument against *coercion* does not demand that one refuse to
interact with fellow humans. To the contrary, he advocates a world of
thriving debate and rich socialization. His "Framework for Utopia" section
of ASU makes clear that he want a diverse and vibrant civil society. I don't
think anyone can reasonably claim that studying Nozick leads to a short
attention span and an inefficient memory!