Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory of Justice In this section of the course we turn to libertarian justice, a view of distributive justice that rivals Rawls’ liberal vision of justice. Libertarian justice is distinguished by the importance it attaches to private property and by its opposition to what it sees as the coercive tax policies of the modern liberal state. One of the foremost expositions of libertarian justice comes from Robert Nozick, a colleague of Rawls at Harvard University, who, in Anarchy, State and Utopia, argued for what he termed an entitlement theory of justice. Nozick’s entitlement theory draws heavily on the Kantian idea that people should never be used as mere means to an end and on John Locke’s conception of private property. To learn more about this theory and its Kantian and Lockean influences, we turn again to Michael Sandel’s lectures on justice. Sandel’s lecture on justice: Lecture # 5 explores the idea of negative rights and the ethical significance of the freedom to choose, while Lecture # 6 considers Nozick’s famous ‘self-ownership’ argument, one of the foundations for his view that mandatory taxation aimed at promoting the welfare of others is an instance of governments treating their own citizens as ‘mere means to an end.’ Libertarian Justice Once you have listened to the Sandel lecture you should be ready to go to Nozick’s own words, in an excerpt taken from Anarchy, State and Utopia. This excerpt includes Nozick’s view on the jsutification of the minimal state, as well as his Entitlement Theory, for holding private property: http://econ2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ362/hallam/Readings/Nozick_Justice.pdf Discussion Topic 1. What is the difference b/w Nozick’s and Rawls’s interpretation of the concepts of ‘rights’ and ‘desert’? 2. Critique or defend one of these interpretations with respect to distributive justice.
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