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Nozick’s Response to Rawls

February 2, 2010

Nozick points out that Rawls justification for his theory is that people can be rational, disinterested individuals that can all agree to certain principles for the betterment of all. Nozick notes that people are not always rational and agreements between many people are hard to make especially when distributing resources is involved. Nozick points out that people have different capabilities and amounts of resources available to them. Nozick relates the resources available to a pie. He states if the pie could grow larger if people agree to unequal distribution of it, they would give up equal portions so long as the smallest portion would be larger. Then Nozick asks who is it that could make the pie larger? Would they do it for a larger slice of pie? Would they not do it if they were only given the same slice as everyone else? This is a valid point as there will always be better and worse endowed people in the world and the people who have the abilities to increase the size of the pie will feel entitled to a proportionally larger slice. Thus, theres no motivation to increase the size of the pie if theres no visible reward. Nozick’s best point is as follows “The whole procedure of persons choosing principles in Rawls’  original position presupposes that no historical-entitlement conception of justice is correct.” Rawls makes his theory on whats best for the whole, not what is best for a few. On the other hand Rawls’ theory is based on the fact that both parties (well/poorly endowed) need eachother for something. I believe both parties do need eachother, the well endowed do not usually work as janitors, septic tank cleaners, or fast food employees. Just as the less endowed dont have the means and sometimes ability to maintain an international company.

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4 Comments leave one →
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