Three Challenges From The Right And John Rawls Theory Of Justice

1985 Words 8 Pages
I will be outlining three ‘challenges from the right’ aimed at Rawls’ theory of justice and discussing whether they succeed or not. Those from the ‘right’ are advocates of ensuring that freedom and liberty are maximized in society. Rawls’s theory of justice has been met by many challenges, especially from the philosopher Nozick. A large portion of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, The State and Utopia is dedicated to refuting John Rawls’s theories pertaining to justice. Rawls was of the opinion that economic inequalities should only be permitted if they benefit the least advantaged members of society; this has come to be known as the difference principle. Nozick was of the opinion that the state didn’t have any business permitting economic inequalities …show more content…
He calls these goods ‘primary’ goods. According to Rawls, when we enter the original position, we need to decide how to choose how these goods are to be distributed. Rawls answers this question with principles of justice. Rawls’s first principle of justice is the principle of liberty. The principle of liberty holds that every free and equal person in society has political and civil liberties. Rawls second principle of justice is the principle of equality. The principle of equality comprises of two principles. Firstly, the fair equality of opportunity principle which holds that there must not just be mere formal equality of opportunity but it must actually be practised, people must actually have a fair chance. ‘Careers open to talents’ are insufficient. Public offices and social positions must be open in the formal sense and all should have a fair chance to attain them. People with the same talents and abilities should have the same prospects of success, regardless of their social class of origin. The second principle is the difference principle. According to this principle inequalities in social and economic goods are only acceptable if they promote the welfare of the least advantaged members of society. Rawls states that the less fortunate members of society will do better if some inequality is allowed. The least advantaged members of society will be better off in absolute terms as opposed to been in a society …show more content…
Nozick rightly states that each person’s talents and abilities belong to them. Therefore, they have a right to keep whatever these talents and abilities gain for themselves. To forcibly redistribute what they earn, as Rawls’s theory suggests, is disrespecting their autonomy and ultimately their right to freedom and liberty. John Rawls’ theory of distributive justice is based on the idea that society is a system of cooperation for mutual advantage between individuals. However, taking wealth away from people only benefits the less fortunate. As both philosophers point out, justice is the most important political value and applies to the basic institutions of society such as institutions that regulate the market, property, family, freedom, and so on. If society is a matter of cooperation between equals for mutual advantage, the conditions for this cooperation need to be defended and any inequalities in social positions must be

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