Philosophical Anarchism

Philosophical anarchism is an anarchist school of thought which holds that the state lacks moral legitimacy while not supporting violence to eliminate it. Though philosophical anarchism does not necessarily imply any action or desire for the elimination of the State, philosophical anarchists do not believe that they have an obligation or duty to obey the State, or conversely, that the State has a right to command. Philosophical anarchism is a component especially of individualist anarchism.

Scholar Michael Freeden identifies four broad types of individualist anarchism. He says the first is the type associated with William Godwin that advocates self-government with a "progressive rationalism that included benevolence to others." The second type is egoism, most associated with Max Stirner. The third type is "found in Herbert Spencer's early predictions, and in that of some of his disciples such as Donisthorpe, foreseeing the redundancy of the state in the source of social evolution." The fourth type retains a moderated form of egoism and accounts for social cooperation through the advocacy of the market, having such followers as Benjamin Tucker and Thoreau.

Philosophical anarchists of historical note include Mohandas Gandhi, William Godwin, J. R. R. Tolkien, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Herbert Spencer, Max Stirner, and Henry David Thoreau. Contemporary philosophical anarchists include A. John Simmons and Robert Paul Wolff.

Read more about Philosophical AnarchismVariations, Notable Philosophical Anarchists

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Famous quotes containing the word anarchism:

    Anarchism is the only philosophy which brings to man the consciousness of himself; which maintains that God, the State, and society are non-existent, that their promises are null and void, since they can be fulfilled only through man’s subordination. Anarchism is therefore the teacher of the unity of life; not merely in nature, but in man.
    Emma Goldman (1869–1940)