Huemer And The NAP

The gentleman in the video below explores the NAP in light of a Huemer lecture he heard at Porcfest, which I’m pretty sure was Huemer’s common sense defense of libertarianism. In that lecture Huemer said the NAP is false.

On the other hand, in The Problem of Political Authority Huemer explicitly grounds his arguments on a NAP. There’s no real contradiction, Huemer was criticizing the NAP as an absolute principle often invoked by some libertarians, whereas the NAP he relies on is a body of common sense moral principles.

My own view is that rather than refuting the NAP, Huemer rehabilitates it by reconstructing in in a weaker, less controversial, form, which leads to stronger arguments. In so doing he has almost completely rehabilitated most NAP based arguments against government action.

Before reading TPOPA a NAP absolutist would say, “The state is not justified in doing X because of the NAP”.

The statist would then say , “Aha, but there are circumstances where almost everyone rejects your NAP. Therefore your argument accomplished nothing, so anything goes.”

But Huemer holds that a common sense NAP merely puts the burden of justification on anyone proposing state aggression. And it turns out that such proposals can almost never overcome that burden. So most of the NAP based arguments against the state reached correct conclusions all along and just needed the rigor which Huemer supplies.

Effectively Huemer argues, “An individual wouldn’t be justified in doing X and you can’t explain how the state is justified in doing X when individuals are not”.

Getting back to the video: I think the speaker here veers into subjectivism and moral anti-realism at times, but it’s still an interesting talk.

I also want to make clear that I certainly do NOT condone the posting of Youtube videos on serious philosophical matters wherein one does not wear a shirt.


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