Framing the State of Nature Through Institutionalist Lenses
Institutional Diversity in Self-Governing Societies. Edited by Filippo Sabetti and Dario Castiglione. Lexington Books, 2017.
18 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017
Date Written: 2015
The Ostroms’ research program has a dimension that goes beyond the strict boundaries of political science and economics, crossing into the domain of political philosophy. Bloomington scholars created a framework for analyzing how institutions work and develop that helped them specify and examine the relationships between the environmental, social and individual elements. So far, scholars have applied the institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework to the analysis of real life situations. However, reflections on various applications of the framework have led to the idea of “theoretical scenarios”. We show how the IAD framework can be used to assess the use of classical theme in political philosophy and constitutional political economy: the state of nature and state of nature thought experiments. The IAD framework severely limits the claims of experiments conducted from the philosopher’s armchair. For example, Robert Nozick’s argument that the state inevitably emerges from a state of nature is correct only under the material and technological conditions of the 17th century when Hobbes and Locke brought forth the proposition.
Keywords: State of Nature, Anarchy, Thought Experiment, Scenario, Institutionalism, Ostrom, Nozick
JEL Classification: B52, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation