Rawls And Nozick: Justice As A Fair Inequality Or Entitled Right?
Distributive justice is the economic framework within a society which determines the distribution of goods amongst its members. How goods should be distributed and to whom have been interpreted by John Rawls and Robert Nozick, two contemporary philosophers that share the belief that there is no practical form of equal distribution of goods within society, but disagree on what constitutes a true distributive justice when taking that into consideration. The philosophers’ interpretations of distributive justice are influenced by their respective beliefs – Rawls’ principles of justice are egalitarian in nature, while Nozick’s entitlement theory is strong in its libertarian sentiments. Although Rawls recognizes …show more content…
Nozick’s libertarian theory of justice does not properly address the inequalities present in society. According to Nozick, justice should be defined by a person’s right to private property (what he calls ‘holdings’) in order for distribution to be fair. This definition of justice is Nozick’s Entitlement Theory, which naturalizes inequality through ‘individual liberty’. The problematic justification of inequality inherent in both philosophers’ theories means that neither can truly be an adequate response to the problem of distributive justice.
In his work, Theory of Justice, John Rawls describes two principles in which he describes his theory for distributive justice. Rawls interprets the goods described in distributive justice as the power and wealth that stem from institutional positions. The first principle asserts that, “each individual has an equal right to the most extensive liberty compatible with like liberty for all”. (503) His second principle details