I'm ashamed to say that despite attending a conference on Chandran Kukathas' 'The Liberal Archipelago' (and meeting him several times), I'm yet to seriously engage in Robert Nozick's 'Anarchy, State and Utopia'. Partly this is because I reject it's use as a totem for libertarian philosophy (and this is a more credible position the greater my ignorance of it), but partly because political science is not my field. That said, I recently read the final chapter.
As a review of the whole book, I found Barbara Fried's "Begging the Question with Style" to be deeply uncharitable. Whilst entertaining, and full of insightful commentary on the use of rhetoric, it just didn't stick. She seemed to have committed the same "tricks" she accuses Nozick of, and fails to provide convincing evidence that they are indeed "tricks" (as opposed to mistakes).
However I recommend the article (if only as a rule book for rhetorical ploys), and especially enjoyed the following:
The reigning muse for Nozick here might be E. B. White’s Will Strunk. Strunk, said White, “scorned the vague, the tame, the colorless, the irresolute. He felt it was worse to be irresolute than to be wrong. I remember a day in class when he leaned far forward, in his characteristic pose—the pose of a man about to impart a secret—and croaked, ‘If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! . . .’ This comical piece of advice struck me as sound at the time, and I still respect it. Why compound ignorance with inaudibility? Why run and hide?”
E. B. White, introduction to William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style (New York: Macmillan, 1959), xi.
I find this brilliant. In class recently we were talking about the Monty Hall problem, and a student suggested a fantastic application. He said that if you're playing Who want's to be a millionaire? and genuinely have no idea which the correct answer is, the best strategy is to choose one at random, take a 50-50, and if your guess is still there, switch.
This is completely counter-intuitive but makes perfect sense (assuming you understand Monty Hall). The thing I really like about this example is that a typical strategy to deal with ignorance is to make efforts to reduce it. In many instances this merely leads to over-confidence, since you find ways to rationalise a random guess (this ties into my philosophy on quizzes). The strategy here though is to (i) acknowledge your ignorance; (ii) create institutions (rules) to mitigate this.
As a scholar and a manager people don't tend to respond well when you admit to being ignorant of something (motivations tend to get called into question), but for me this is life. We shouldn't shy away from ignorance, it should be CONFRONTED HEAD ON!!!