Essay on The Argument From Nozick 's Treatment Of Rawls ' Theory

1572 Words Oct 19th, 2016 7 Pages
Rawls advises that if people would choose a different principle to regulate liberty, such as from a position of self-interest, then the result would be discrimination against some people viz., those who are not like oneself. The subsequent situation would then be an approval of a reduced liberty for everyone. Therefore, by using the veil of ignorance, and justifying that the people in the original position are “rational and mutually disinterested,” Rawls is able to answer the objection of self-interest (12). The original position reveals that no “rational and mutually disinterested” person would ever agree with discrimination, or potential loss of liberty, if his or her own particular social position, psychological motive, etc. were unknown (Rawls 12).

Now, the argument from Nozick is a little more complex. Although a thorough exposition and a counter-critique of Nozick’s treatment of Rawls’ theory is beyond the scope of this review, there are some intriguing points to consider. Like Rawls, Nozick explores various theories of justice and classifies them as either historical, or patterned, and un-patterned. Nozick admits that “Political philosophers now must either work within Rawls’ theory or explain why not” (Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia 183).
The first argument Nozick presents against Rawls begins by envisioning a State that is regulated by whatever pattern has been chosen. As an example, Nozick uses “the principle of distribution according to moral merit” (Nozick…

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