March 18, 2014
Robert Nozick’s Libertarian Critique of Rawl’s Egalitarianism
1. Initial acquisition of property
2. Transfers are consensual (non-coercive) – if you’re entitled to it, no one can take it away
1.1 Individuals have inviolable rights
Kant’s injunction: treat people always as ends, never merely as means.
• Moral base as everything else
1.2 Rights as side-constraints
Dworkin – rights as “trumps”
• Cannot infringe on others’rights
1.3 Even rights-consequentialism ruled out (“U. of rights”) because it treats some as mere means
rather than ends. Crucial.
2. Self-ownership: People own themselves (following Locke)
2.1 Thus: Entitlement theory (has these elements):
-Principle of initial acquisition
-Principle of just transfer
-Rectificatory justice (Aristotle)
3. Wilt Chamberlain example (patterned theory) – justice unpatterened
Liberty upsets patterns
If: initial acquisition is just, (and) transfers are non-coercive, the transfers are just.
Therefore, whatever pattern emerges from a free market (and new ones constantly
emerge) is just.
Patterned principles of distributive justice necessitate