PREROGATIVES, RESTRICTIONS, AND RIGHTS a
I offer a defense of the moral side-constraints to which Robert Nozick appeals in Anarchy, State and Utopia but for which he fails to provide a sustained justification. I identify a line of anti-consequentialist argumentation which is present in Nozick and which, in the terminology of Samuel Scheffler, moves first to affirm a personal prerogative which allows the individual not to sacrifice herself for the sake of the best overall outcome and second moves on to affirm restrictions (i.e., moral side-constraints) which prohibit the individual from suppressing others' exercise of their personal prerogatives even if that suppression would serve the overall good. I argue that one ought to follow this line of anti-consequentialist argumentation all the way to the affirmation of restrictions by showing that the rationale for the adoption of the personal prerogative is not satisfied unless the accompanying restrictions are adopted as well.
a A distant ancestor of this essay was written during the spring of 1997 when I was a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University. The draft of the present essay was composed during the tenure of a summer research grant from the Murphy Institute of Political Economy at Tulane University. I am very grateful to both institutions and to Ellen Frankel Paul and Mary Sirridge for their exceedingly helpful editorial advice.