References and Further Reading 1. He was also, like so many young intellectuals of that period, drawn initially to the politics of the New Left and to the socialism that was its philosophical inspiration. But encountering the works of such defenders of capitalism as F. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Ayn Rand eventually led him to renounce those views, and to shift his philosophical focus away from the technical issues then dominating analytic philosophy and toward political theory. Instead, he moved on to produce groundbreaking work in several other areas of philosophical inquiry, particularly in epistemology and metaphysics. It remains to be seen what impact on philosophy will be made by the general theory of objective truth developed in his last book, Invariances , published shortly before his untimely death from stomach cancer.
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Rawls argues that the state should have whatever powers are necessary to ensure that those citizens who are least well-off are as well-off as they can be though these powers must be consistent with a variety of basic rights and freedoms. One legitimate means is the appropriation of something that is unowned in circumstances where the acquisition would not disadvantage others.
A second means is the voluntary transfer of ownership of holdings to someone else. A third means is the rectification of past injustices in the acquisition or transfer of holdings. According to Nozick, anyone who acquired what he has through these means is morally entitled to it. Assume, he says, that the distribution of holdings in a given society is just according to some theory based on patterns or historical circumstances—e.
In this society, Wilt Chamberlain is an excellent basketball player, and many teams compete with each other to engage his services. Chamberlain eventually agrees to play for a certain team on the condition that everyone who attends a game in which he plays puts 25 cents in a special box at the gate, the contents of which will go to him. Is the new distribution unjust? Nozick contends that this argument generalizes to any theory based on patterns or historical circumstances, because any distribution dictated by such a theory could be upset by ordinary and unobjectionable transactions like the one involving Chamberlain.
Nozick concludes that any society that attempted to implement such a theory would have to intrude grossly on the liberty of its citizens in order to enforce the distribution it considers just. A group that wished to form a socialist community governed by an egalitarian theory would be free to do so, as long as it did not force others to join the community against their will. Indeed, every group would enjoy the same freedom to realize its own idea of a good society.
Unlike Rawls, however, Nozick did not attempt to defend or revise his political views in published work.
Rawls argues that the state should have whatever powers are necessary to ensure that those citizens who are least well-off are as well-off as they can be though these powers must be consistent with a variety of basic rights and freedoms. One legitimate means is the appropriation of something that is unowned in circumstances where the acquisition would not disadvantage others. A second means is the voluntary transfer of ownership of holdings to someone else. A third means is the rectification of past injustices in the acquisition or transfer of holdings.
Nozick & Distributive Justice (Summary)
This book presents itself as a libertarian critique of the Theory of Justice by John Rawls. For Nozick, distributive justice is incompatible with the rights of individuals. In the first part of the book, Nozick attempts to demonstrate against the supporters of the welfare state, the minimal state is the only one that can be justified, it is legitimate to say. The State must confine itself to functions of government judicial sphere, police, army, and the protection of individuals and property. Any state that goes beyond these functions violate the rights of individuals.
Robert Nozick (1938—2002)
Many theorists have attempted to to explain the exact characteristics and outline a moral distribution of possessions. From just after the First World War to present day, liberal perspectives emerged and flourished across a variety of ideological theories and continue to influence political thinking in regards to rights, equality and freedom. In their specific arguments for this viewpoint, however the two philosophers diverge significantly, with Rawls focusing on the collective principle in terms of equality and justice, while Nozick focuses on the individual right and historical principle and its role in this right. John Rawls argues that a just society must have equal rights for all. The perspectives presented by John Rawls and Robert Nozick demonstrate two extremely different views of societal justice and the roles that the state should have in society. Each of these philosophers give their own principles of justice, which are sets of rules society must follow in order to be just. In this paper, I will analyze the views of each of these thinkers.
Distributive Justice, By Robert Nozick