Nozick 's Theory Of Justice Essays

2204 Words Oct 12th, 2016 9 Pages
In “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” (1974), Robert Nozick forwards Entitlement Theory of libertarianism that proposes 3 principles of distributive justice: just acquisition, justice in transfers, and rectification of injustice. In order to realize these principles, Nozick forwards an idea of a minimal state that arises through a competitive market of protective agencies. In this paper I will analyze 3 main aspects of Nozick’s theory of justice: 1) the state of nature which property rights are established 2) the justification of the minimal state against anarchist critiques and 3) the 3 principles within Entitlement theory.
Nozick begins the book by asserting “Individuals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights)” (Nozick, 1974, p. ix). This proclamation sets the foundation for his theory of justice, and establishes it as one that revolves around the protection of natural rights. As with John Locke’s conception of state of nature rights, Nozick recognizes natural rights as negative-- the types of conduct that may not be done to individuals (assault, theft, enslavement, etc.) rather than what must (rights to healthcare, education, etc.). These are moral rights that precede social contract and all social/political ends, and provide the basis for assessing and constraining the actions of individuals, groups, and political institutions (Nozick, 1974, p. 10). We have these rights because of what we are as moral persons, not…

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