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The Limits of Liberty

Between Anarchy and Leviathan

"The Limits of Liberty is concerned mainly with two topics. One is an attempt to construct a new contractarian theory of the state, and the other deals with its legitimate limits. The latter is a matter of great practical importance and is of no small significance from the standpoint of political philosophy."—Scott Gordon, Journal of Political Economy

James Buchanan offers a strikingly innovative approach to a pervasive problem of social philosophy. The problem is one of the classic paradoxes concerning man’s freedom in society: in order to protect individual freedom, the state must restrict each person’s right to act. Employing the techniques of modern economic analysis, Professor Buchanan reveals the conceptual basis of an individual’s social rights by examining the evolution and development of these rights out of presocial conditions.

217 pages | 6.00 x 8.90 | © 1975

Philosophy: Philosophy of Society

Table of Contents

1. Commencement
2. The Bases for Freedom in Society
3. Postconstitutional Contract: The Theory of Public Goods
4. Constitutional Contract: The Theory of Law
5. Continuing Contract and the Status Quo
6. The Paradox of "Being Governed"
7. Law As Public Capital
8. The Punishment Dilemma
9. The Threat of Leviathan
10. Beyond Pragmatism: Prospects for Constitutional Revolution
Selected Bibliography

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