Tibor Machan Festschrift

Machan festschrift coverDouglas B. Rasmussen, Aeon J. Skoble, and Douglas J. Den Uyl have produced a festschrift in honor of my longtime friend, the libertarian philosopher Tibor Machan. Entitled Reality, Reason, and Rights: Essays in Honor of Tibor R. Machan, it is published by Lexington Books and should be available next month from Amazon.

Skoble was editor for years of Reason Papers, the journal started by Machan (I’m now on its editorial board; and it inspired the name of my own journal, Libertarian Papers). In fact my first scholarly article, was published in Reason Papers in 1992 when Machan was editor. I remember that I wrote the initial draft of that article by hand, in cursive, when I was in the LL.M. program at King’s College London (no computers!), and submitted it to Machan after it was rejected by the King’s College London’s law journal. I remember speaking with Machan on a pay phone from King’s, about revisions to my article. We’ve been friends and kept in contact ever since, at Mises Institute conferences and, now, by Skype.

Tibor has long been a prolific and tireless advocate of the philosophy of liberty. Two of his books were big influences on me, Human Rights and Human Liberties: A Radical Reconsideration of the American Political Tradition (1975) and the even better Individuals and Their Rights (1989) (as was Rasmussen and Den Uyl’s Liberty and Nature: An Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order).

Assembling a collection of essays like this is not easy (I was editor of a festschrift as well, so I know this from personal experience), so the editors are to be commended. This is a well-deserved honor for Professor Machan.

The description and table of contents from the publisher are appended below.

Tibor R. Machan, one of the most prolific and wide ranging philosophers of our time, has been known internationally for decades through his public speaking, opinion columns, and of course his scholarly writing.  This collection of essays seeks to explore Machan’s philosophical ideas by considering some of the basic issues with which he has been concerned throughout his long and highly productive career.  The essays range from those concerned with the nature of reality and knowledge to those dealing with the nature of the political/legal order. Topics such as the character of human nature, free choice and responsibility, the justification of individual rights, and the place of justice in the contemporary welfare state—among other basic issues—are discussed in these essays.  Because Machan himself dealt with questions of central importance, the essays should appeal to a wide range of interests and disciplines in philosophy and related fields. But the essays are also written by people accomplished in their own right and thus seek not only to comment on Machan, but to make their own contribution to enduring philosophical issues.  The volume should be of value to both students and faculty alike.


Chapter 1. Tibor Machan
Nicolas Capaldi

Chapter 2. Machan on Egoism and Altruism
Aeon J. Skoble

Chapter 3. Aristotle and the Roots of Individualism
James E. Chesher

Chapter 4. Injustice and the Welfare State
Douglas J. Den Uyl

Chapter 5. Reason and Precedent in the Law
Lester Hunt

Chapter 6. Liberty and the Virtue of Patience: A Vindication of Machan’s Project
Jonathan Jacobs

Chapter 7. God, Aquinas and Revisionist Natural Law Theory: The Question of Natural Kinds and Natural Rights
Anthony Lisska
Chapter 8. How to Think about Economic Justice
Eric Mack

Chapter 9. Neo-Aristotelian Theories of Natural Rights
Fred D. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 10. Liberty to Equality: Yet Another Try
James Sterba

Chapter 11. Machan, Realism, and Objective Value Judgments
Douglas B. Rasmussen

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  • Thanks much for this very nice notice.

  • Thanks, Stephan. Just to keep up my role as editor, there are no libertarian philosophers, anymore than there are libertarian plumbers, cooks, bus drivers and such other than to notice these folks’ politics. My ambition is to be a philosopher — a lover or seeker of wisdom — and in that role I have reached some conclusions that are superior to others, including in the field of political philosophy where I have found libertarianism the best alternative. Does that make me a libertarian philosopher? Or simply a professional, academic philosopher who is also a libertarian just as he is also a parent, an American, a man, etc.?