Summary Of Anarchy, State And Utopia By Robert Nozick

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In Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Nozick uses the example of Wilt Chamberlin, a very wealthy basketball player, to show that liberty is incompatible with any patterned theory of distributive justice. According to Nozick there are three sets of rules of justice, defining: How things not previously possessed by anyone may be acquired; How possession may be transferred from one person to another; and What must be done to rectify injustices arising from violations of (1) and (2). First I will argue that the Wilt Chamberlain argument assumes self-ownership and not property rights (the latter is what the pattern theory must deny). Second I will argue that interpreting liberty as self-ownership does bring about conflict of liberty …show more content…
For when we acquire a piece of land then it comes ours and it is up to us if others are to be able to use it and thus no-one else can have a say over how that piece of land is to be used. Nozick thinks this is acceptable as long as we hold a proviso on exactly when we may acquire a piece of land. We may only acquire a piece of land if the acquisition of that piece of land materially worsens the conditions of anybody else who would use that piece of land. We only worsen the condition of others if they have less of what they need than if we had not acquired the piece of land that we did. For example we may not take the only full water hole in an area and deprive others of the water in it because we are clearly worsening the conditions of others. He doesn 't specify exactly what happens to someone 's property once the Lockean proviso is violated just saying that there become 'stringent limits on what he may do with his “property" '. He seems to doubt that we could even call it that person 's property. If the argument is successful it will show that people can gain absolute property rights and thus that patterned theories are unjust because they involve violating those property rights and thus liberty in order to maintain a

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