Nozick vs Rawls

Nozick vs Rawls

Why does Nozick deny that justice requires attention to patterns of distribution?

Explain and analyse Nozick’s theory and compare this account with John Rawls’ theory of distributive justice. Explain which theory you find most convincing, and why.

"That a handful of human beings should weigh everybody in balance, and give more to one and less to another at their sole pleasure and judgment, would not be borne unless from persons believed to be more than men, and backed by supernatural terrors."  John Stuart Mill

Equality means lowest common denominator. No one wants that. That is truly awful. Mark Willey

In this paper I will explain why Robert Nozick (1938-2002) denies that justice requires attention to patterns of distribution, proposed by John Rawls (1921-2002). In answering the question, Nozick’s theory of justice will be explored in comparison to Rawl’s theory. Nozick’s theory holds that distribution is a result of history; furthermore, Nozick identifies three principles in which he believes must be satisfied in order for justice to be established fairly. It can be argued that Nozick borrowed a fair portion of his concepts from John Locke (1632-1704); notably property rights and freedom. On the other hand, Rawl’s provides his theory which proposes an opposite perspective to Nozick. Rawl’s believes that distributions are patterned and his theory is understood to be a social contract. Although theories are dissimilar, they do have similarities. Both theories contain Kantian influences and both theories although similar are not identical with or to be confused with utilitarianism. Nozick’s theory, like all theories, has its flaws which will be discussed. Nozick’s theory also questions the validity of Rawl’s theory. I must say I understand and agree with Nozick’s standpoint on redistribution, but in terms of which theory is more convincing, I side with Rawl’s Theory.

Before we compare the theories, let’s consider the...

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