Nozick and Rawls

3588 WordsJul 7, 201115 Pages
Which is the most appealing Nozick’s entitlement theory or Rawls theory of distributive justice? The defence of liberal ideologies emerged not long after the Second World War, prior to this there had been little faith in liberal values during the 1920’s and 1930’s, however after the war there appeared to be a renewed defence for liberal thinking ranging across a variety of ideological theories. To the present day these liberal perspectives continue to influence political thinking with regards to rights, equality and freedom. This rapid revival of liberal ideologies highlights the diverse and contradictory parts associated with liberal ideas and so we are left with two very influential theorists in liberal political philosophy yet with…show more content…
The ‘equal liberty’ principle’ takes priority over the ‘difference principle’ as it would not be just to place limits on liberty for the sake of greater economic good or advantage to society. 9 In other words Rawl’s views individuals as an end in themselves not a means to an end. The work of Robert Nozick is more famously known through his writing of Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974) where he argued for libertarianism, for a free market economy, absolute property rights and a minimal state. The premise that Nozick begins with his theory arise is through the idea that every person has rights and no groups or person can change that without violating their own rights. However he also makes it clear that anarchism is not the end result. Instead of focussing on how to redistribute wealth and resources within societies like Rawl’s does, Nozick focuses on how people come to acquire property, in other words acquire wealth and resources. His main ideas are shaped around a minimal state and private property rights. He defends the idea of a minimal state and suggests it should only exist to enforce justice and natural rights through the means of courts and police authorities. It is these functions and these functions only that should determine state power and anything else would exceed its power. 2 In addition to this he asserted that with rights to life and to liberty people can come to gain rights of property. This leads to one
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