Rothbard Hazlitt Mises.jpg-500x400

Libertarian Ethics

IS_PP_LE — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

About the Course

David Gordon writes:

In The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard proposed a natural law foundation for libertarianism. In doing so, he rejected as not fully adequate the distinctive brand of utilitarian ethics defended by his teacher Ludwig von Mises. Was he correct in his criticisms of Mises? If you are attracted to both views, must you choose between them?

Both Mises and Rothbard’s positions have aroused a great deal of discussion. Hans Hoppe decisively intervened in this discussion with his proposal, a libertarian version of argumentation ethics. Hoppe’s approach accepts Rothbard’s conclusions but establishes them on a rather different basis. Rothbard argued from an Aristotelian –Thomist basis: Hoppe, like his teacher Jürgen Habermas, owes much to Kant. In his argument, Hoppe claims that to deny that you own yourself involves a performative contradiction. Is he right?

These are among the topics that Danny Sanchez and I examine. Students who take this course will acquire a good grounding in these three major theories and be in a position to form their own opinion about them.

Further, looking at these three theories offers an excellent way to study the foundations of ethics. Are ethical judgments objectively true? Is ethics merely a social institution, or is it more than this?

In an introductory lecture, I describe the three positions and explain how they raise the foundational issues just mentioned. Daniel Sanchez, whose penetrating posts have shown him to be a foremost expositor and defender of Mises’s ethics, gives three lectures on that subject. I give two more lectures, one each on Rothbard and Hoppe.


All readings for this course are free, available online, and provided to students in a fully-hyperlinked syllabus.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are courses that were presented live in the past. These courses are now offered at a discount to anyone who wants to study independently. All courses include lecture recordings, slides, a complete hyper-linked syllabus, automatically-graded quizzes, and a discussion forum. Professors are not available for academic support for these independent study courses.

Sample Certificate of Participation

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge