Tibor R. Machan

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Tibor R. Machan
TiborMachan Italy06.jpg
Born (1939-03-18) March 18, 1939 (age 83)
Nationality Budapest, Hungarian American
Alma mater UC Santa Barbara (Ph.D. 1971)
New York University (MA 1966)
Claremont McKenna College (BA 1965)
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Libertarianism

Tibor Richard Machan (/ˈtbɔːr məˈkæn/; born 18 March 1939) is a Hungarian American philosopher. A professor emeritus in the department of philosophy at Auburn University, Machan held the R. C. Hoiles Chair of Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business & Economics at Chapman University in Orange, California until December 31, 2014.

He has been a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and an adjunct faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.[1] Machan is a syndicated and freelance columnist; author of more than one hundred scholarly papers and more than forty books, among them the recent Why is Everyone Else Wrong? (Springer, 2008). He was, until Spring 2015, senior contributing editor at The Daily Bell. He is senior fellow at the Heartland Institute in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Though he can be broadly classified as a libertarian on many important issues, Machan rejects any division of libertarianism into left wing and right wing. He holds that, by its nature, libertarianism is about political liberty for all individuals to do whatever is peaceful and non-aggressive. Machan is a minarchist.


Machan was born in Budapest.[2] Machan's father hired a smuggler to get him out of Hungary when he was 14 years of age and he came to the United States three years later, in 1956.[3] By 1965, Machan graduated Claremont McKenna College (then Claremont Men's College).[4] He took his Masters of Arts in Philosophy at New York University from 1965 to 1966, and his Ph.D in Philosophy at University of California, Santa Barbara, 1966–1971.[5] In 1970, with Robert W. Poole, Jr. and Manuel Klausner, he purchased Reason magazine, which has since become the leading libertarian periodical in America. Machan edited Reason for two years and was the editor of Reason Papers, an annual journal of interdisciplinary normative studies, for 25 years.

He was a visiting professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1992–1993 and has taught at universities in California, New York, Switzerland, and Alabama. He has lectured in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, Armenia, and Latin America on business ethics and political philosophy.

He sits on the advisory boards for several foundations and "think tanks," and served on the founding Board of the Jacob J. Javits Graduate Fellowship Program of the U. S. Department of Education. Machan was selected as the 2003 President of the American Society for Value Inquiry, and delivered the presidential address on December 29, 2002, in Philadelphia, at the Eastern Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association, titled "Aristotle & Business." He was on the board of the Association for Private Enterprise Education for several terms.

Machan was an adviser to Freedom Communications, Inc. on libertarian issues.[6] from 1996 to 2014.

Machan has written a memoir, The Man Without a Hobby: Adventures of a Gregarious Egoist (Hamilton Books, 2004; 2nd edition 2012).

Academic work

Machan's work usually focuses on ethics and political philosophy, specifically natural rights theory, as in works such as Individuals and Their Rights (Open Court, 1989) and Libertarianism Defended (Ashgate, 2006). He has defended the arguments of Ayn Rand for ethical egoism, and also writes frequently on business ethics, a field in which he deploys a neo-Aristotelian ethical stance whereby commercial and business conduct gain their moral standing by constituting extensions of the virtues of productivity and prudence. He argues that the field presupposes the institution of the right to private property (one cannot trade what one does not own or hasn't been authorized to trade by the owner) in the works, The Business of Commerce, Examining an Honorable Profession, and A Primer on Business Ethics, both with James Chesher, and The Morality of Business, A Profession of Human Wealth Care (Springer, 2007).

His full ethical position is developed in his book Classical Individualism: The Supreme Importance of Each Human Being (Routledge, 1998), and it is applied in, among other books, Generosity: Virtue in Civil Society (Cato Institute, 1998).

Machan also writes in the field of epistemology. His main focus has been to challenge the conception of human knowledge whereby to know that P amounts to having reached a final, perfect, timeless, and finished understanding of P. Instead, Machan develops Ayn Rand's contextual conception of human knowledge (from Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology), but also draws on the insights of J. L. Austin, from his paper "Other Minds", and Gilbert Harman, from his book Thought, in works such as Objectivity (Ashgate, 2004). Machan has worked on the problem of free will and has defended a secular, naturalist (but not materialist) notion of human initiative in his books The Pseudo-Science of B. F. Skinner (1974; 2007) and Initiative: Human Agency and Society (2000).

Machan has argued against animal rights in his widely reprinted paper "Do Animals Have Rights?" (1991) and in his book Putting Humans First: Why We Are Nature's Favorite (2004), but he has also written on the ethics of animal treatment in his book Putting Humans First (2004). He is also a skeptic as to whether governments are able to help with global warming and whether human beings have made significant contributions to climate change. On May 1, 2011, Machan was featured in a three-hour interview on C-Span 2's In Depth program as its selection of an author from the Western United States of America.

Personal life

Machan lives in Silverado Canyon, California. He was previously married to Marty Zupan.[7] He has three children and four grandchildren.[2]


  • Machan, Tibor R. (1974). The pseudo-science of B.F. Skinner. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House Publishers.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Libertarian Alternative (Nelson-Hall, 1974)
  • Human Rights and Human Liberties (Nelson-Hall, 1975)
  • “Recent Work in Ethical Egoism,” American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 1, 1979, pp. 1–15.
  • The Libertarian Reader (Rowman & Littlefield, 1982)
  • Individuals and Their Rights (Open Court, 1989)
  • Capitalism and Individualism: Reframing the Argument for the Free Society (St. Martin's Publishing Co. & Harvester Wheatsheaf *Books, 1990)
  • Classical Individualism (Routledge, 1998)
  • Generosity; Virtue in the Civil Society (Cato Institute, 1998)
  • Libertarianism Defended (Ashgate, 2006)
  • The Promise of Liberty (Lexington, 2009)
  • (co-authored with Rainer Ebert) "Innocent Threats and the Moral Problem of Carnivorous Animals," Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (May 2012), pp. 146–159.
  • Machan, Tibor (Mar–Apr 2013). "Impractical pragmatism". Philosophy Now. 95: 30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also


  1. Libertarianism.org (Cato Institute) Tibor Machan
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tibor R. Machan (August 1, 1988). "Born 3/18/1939 in Budapest, came to USA 1956, served in USAF and got degrees in philosophy; have three children and three grandchildren". Twitter. Retrieved March 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Video on YouTube
  4. Tibor R. Machan (August 1, 1988). "A Passionate Defense Of Libertarianism". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved March 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Tibor R. Machan: Curriculum Vitae". Anthony Flood. Retrieved March 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Death penalty is fatally flawed". Orange County Register. December 19, 2005. Retrieved May 26, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Brian Doherty, '40 Years of Free Minds and Free Markets: An oral history of reason', in Reason, December 2008 [1]

External links