critical-rationalist libertarianism Many, probably most, *libertarians think they need some form of *justification, foundation or support for their *ideology. Various attempts include basing it on *autonomy, *contractarianism, *natural law, *utilitarianism or some other form of *consequentialism, and, of course, empirical evidence. Although one can subscribe to, or simply use, any of these to defend, or criticize, libertarianism without also being a justificationist.

There is an explicit non-justificationist alternative: *critical-rationalist libertarianism. If someone asks a critical-rationalist libertarian to justify his views, he would probably decline to attempt this as he thinks it impossible. He does not adhere to libertarianism on any basis whatsoever. Like all theories, it is ultimately a mere conjecture. All one can do with a conjecture is test it with empirical evidence and intellectual criticism; both of which must also involve conjectures that themselves always remain open to testing. Thus the only *reasonable policy is to look for the best tests or criticisms available.

If it comes to convincing a critic, this can only mean answering his specific *criticisms as far as possible. Even if this were eventually done to the satisfaction of the critic, it remains just as much an unjustified conjecture as before. It simply wastes time to attempt a futile justification when one will have to answer the specific criticisms of all comers anyway; yet one can also usefully think up criticisms for oneself and attempt to answer them.

A Dictionary of Libertarianism