This Paper Compares Two Famous Political Philosophers John Rawls And Robert Nozick And Their Approaches To Social Justice

1612 words - 6 pages

Aisalkyn AlimbaevaReflection PaperSocial JusticeJohn Rawls and Robert Nozick: are their approaches to justice reconcilable?Accoding to the theory of deprivation, people sense injustice when they believe that other people in similar situations have "better" or "incomparable" outcomes than they do. When people have a feeling that they are disadvantaged comparing to others or haven't received just share, they wish to challenge the system that has given rise to this feeling. This most likely happens if person's or group of people's "needs" are not met or if there is a large difference between those who "have" and those who "do not have".Different principles of justice are proposed by different philosopers, but it does not mean that we should take all of them with equal justification. The issue of justice didn't falter to catch attentions of famous political philosophers such as John Rawls and Robert Nozick. Their approaches to justice, indeed to distributive justice, are for the most part different, but bit similar too. However it is the task of this paper to analyze whether their approaches to distributive justice are reconcilable. Assuming that readers of this paper are already familiar with their works on justice, I will focus on highliting differences in views and few similarities. Further, discussion will lead on why their views can not be reconciable.Rawls presents his approach to justice in the form of two principles: liberty and difference principle. Liberty principle stands for people's basic liberties, such as freedom of sppeach, freedom of religion, the right to vote. He states that these liberties need to be maximized in a just society (Rawls, 196). Difference principle claims that inequlaties in social and economic goods are acceptable only if they promote teh welfare of the "least advantaged" members of society. He introduces social contract To reach a just civil system, people need to come into an "original position" and make decisions behind "veil of ignorance" using a reasoning technique he calls " reflective equolibrium". So to say behind veil of ignorance, with no knowledhe of their own places in civil society, Rawls posits that reasonable people will ignore or forget their social or economic positions that maximize the prospects for the wost off, i.e. feed and house the poor in case they happen to become one (Rawls, 197-199)..Nozick, however, suggests that "the fundamental question of political philoshopy" is not how government should be organized but "whether there shouls be any state at all". He states "the state may not use its coerciv e apparatus for the purpose of getting some citizens to aid others, or in prder to prohibit activities to people for their own good or protection" (Nozick, 217).The primary difference between the two is in the their views on destributional justice. In case of Rawls' difference principle Nozick proposes an "entitlement theory", according to which individual holdings of various social and economic...

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