Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Andrew J. Cohen

Second Advisor

Andrew I. Cohen

Third Advisor

Peter Lindsay


In this thesis I will explore the relationship between Nozick’s self-ownership principle and freedom. I will defend G.A. Cohen’s critique of self-ownership and try to show how his argument that self-ownership is hostile to genuine freedom presents a problem for Nozick. I think it is clear that Nozick’s self-ownership does little to protect a meaningful sort of freedom; and a meaningful sort of freedom is exactly what Nozick aims to protect. This is true because eudaimonistic moral beliefs ought to undergird Nozick’s self-ownership thesis, and self-ownership can therefore be assessed in light of whether it actually promotes human flourishing in the relevant ways. This undergirding eudaimonism becomes clear when we see that self-ownership is intended to protect the ability of each individual to pursue and act upon her own conception of the good.


Included in

Philosophy Commons