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Better book title sought for The Ethics of Action: Fundamentals of Libertarian Legal Theory

I’m working on a book containing an edited collection of my essays on libertarian theory. The working title is The Ethics of Action: Fundamentals of Libertarian Legal Theory–the main title borrows from the titles of two Rothbard books: The Ethics of Liberty and The Logic of Action (a remaining permutation was taken by Buchanan in his The Logic of Liberty). The title evokes a recurring theme or goal of my writing—of libertarian theory in general: an exploration of the  ethics that guide action, and of ethics implied by certain classes of action.

Trusted friends advise me it’s a bad title–dull and pompous. I think I need a better title: something more exciting. The title Hoppe’s Democracy: The God that Failed is an example of a nice title, as is the title for Jeff Tucker’s books It’s a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes, as well as his Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo.

I already have an image I want to use for the cover, discussed here. But I need a better title. The book is basically an edited collection of my articles about foundations, extensions, and applications of libertarian theory and basic principles. Most of the articles involve arguments about the nuts and bolts of libertarian theory and principles, informed by Austrian, Rothbardian, and anarchist principles, and all heavily revolving around property rights, justice, and the non-aggression principle.

Suggestions welcome!

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Esteban Pérez June 28, 2011, 1:00 pm

    I believe that, depending on what is your goal with this book, the title could be great! If you are planning to do a small recolection of articles over diferent aspects of libertarian legal theory you may be looking for a more flashy title, like that of profesor Hoppe’s. But if what you’re planning to do with this book is a comprehensive and systemathic study on libertarian legal theory, the title is perfect, is sober enought!… Now I don’t know what your plans are, sorry I don’t know if youve posted about ir, I haven’t read… But I really believe the great flaw in libertarian theory today is that we have not been able to present a complete and coherent legal theory, in fact me and a friend of mine have been thinking this is the field in which we may seek to help in libertarian theory (thought, we are youn ecuatorian lawyers who still have a lot to study before we are able to make any big improvements)… Still, I believe you are the one who most advances have made in the field, and I would really love to see a comprehensive book on legal theory… Anyway, good luck with your book and my advice is only, if it is small, use flashy title, if it is a major work on legal theory, use the sober one!

  • Jayel Aheram June 28, 2011, 2:34 pm

    Would “The Ethical Compass” work?

  • Jordan Viray June 28, 2011, 4:24 pm

    Name it after your son following Aristotle’s lead.

  • Paul Vahur June 28, 2011, 6:27 pm

    How ethics was made
    How we make ethics, every day
    Ethics does justice
    Ethel and Justin: a love story 😀 LOLOLOLOL
    For a new justice
    Every move you make: ethics and action
    Property, Law and Action

  • Country Thinker June 28, 2011, 7:20 pm

    It really depends on who your intended audience is. Are you trying to refine the thinking of fellow libertarians? Draw in new potential converts? Educate fellow legal thinkers, regardless of their philosophy? I’d love to help refine the title, but I’d need to know more.

    I’m generally not a fan of colon-titles, so “Fundamentals of Libertarian Legal Theory” works fine for me with what you have at the moment.

  • JJ July 2, 2011, 3:35 am

    Free World
    Discover The Legal System The Guarantees Your Freedom While Keeping Governments, Big Businesses, Socialists And Other Scum At Bay…

  • Benjamin Marks July 3, 2011, 7:31 pm

    Why Tax Is Theft: The Naivety, Duplicity and Cowardice of Everyone Who Claims Government is Justified

  • Benjamin Marks July 3, 2011, 8:25 pm

    The Ethics of Individuals Forming Groups and Behaving Like Government

  • Benjamin Marks July 4, 2011, 2:18 am

    The Political Bubble Blow-by-Blow: Pinning the Blame on How Political Apologists Inflate Themselves and Let Down Society

  • Benjamin Marks July 4, 2011, 2:27 am

    Mr Anarchocapitalist Says: Volume I

  • dbrooks July 6, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Personally I don’t see anything wrong with your title, except I think something which better matches the book cover you’ve already chosen might be a good idea. You mention in the other article about the statue that it “evokes liberty, humanity, freedom, cooperation, love, the natural order … becoming man, becoming a self-owner, a homesteader, a rights-bearer.” I think a title which concisely conveys these concepts would work quite well, especially paired with the cover art.

    For example, the cover art shows a man thrusting his child into the world, which she greets with open arms. You could say there is a force driving her toward self-reliance and freedom. Find a few synonyms for a driving force, momentum, or birth… pick between a few for freedom: The Impetus for Liberty. Natural Law and the Impulse for Freedom, The Genesis of Sovereignty. These are just off the top of my head, I’d probably map out dozens of spin-offs of that one concept, then start over a few more times with different interpretations and drill down again for each of those.

    You do however still have to ensure the title accurately represents the contents of the book. Subtitles can help with that.

  • Stephan Kinsella July 6, 2011, 7:04 pm

    Thanks for the great suggestions, all. Still brainstorming…

  • Ed July 9, 2011, 6:38 am

    How about a play on the “Lights, Camera, Action!” of the movie set?

    Rights, Justice, Action!
    Law, Ethics, Action!

    or some such …

  • Steve July 13, 2011, 1:17 pm

    I am a fellow attorney and long-time admirer of your thought-provoking, intellectually consistent writing, and it has served to further strengthen the foundational underpinnings of my libertarian ethics blueprint. I think we need more books like that which you’re working on, which may articulate an ethical basis for the NAP. Will your book expand upon or further explore Hoppe’s “argumentation ethics” line of thought–particularly in light of the Murphy / Callahan critique entitled “HANS-HERMANN HOPPE’S ARGUMENTATION ETHIC: A CRITIQUE”? I’m only asking because I had long been excited and pleased over the prospect of that argument forming the cornerstone in a libertarian ethics framework…and I’m therefore interested in seeing a response to it.
    My nominations for a book title:
    1. “Underpinnings: In Support of a Libertarian Ethical Framework”
    2. “Brick by Brick: A Libertarian Theory of Ethics From the Ground up”
    3. “Blueprint for Liberty: Essays in Support of a Libertarian Ethical Framework”

    Keep up the good work!

  • Dean Wilson July 15, 2011, 4:22 pm

    The truest things I’ve read about law school is that it is intended to teach what Coke called the “artificial reason” of State law. To contrast the logical gymnastics of the current system with the elegant simplicity of libertarian law, perhaps “Natural Reason”?

  • Steve July 18, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Dean: That’s why I so enjoyed “The Myth of The Rule of Law” (see link elsewhere on this site). Being a libertarian complimented my thinking in law school, but I have to admit that going through law school has complimented my libertarianism, too, somewhat. But in general, law school is just a trade school for the “nonsense on stilts” we call “The Legal System.”

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