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Recap of Rawls and Nozick’s Libertarian Critique March 18, 2014.docx

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University of Ottawa
Teva Vidal

Recap of Rawls and intro to Nozick’s Libertarian Critique March 18, 2014 Rawls’two principles of justice: 1. Liberty principle: humans are deserving of basic human rights; they have fundamental inviolable rights 2. Difference principle: a) maximum standard of equal rights should be strived for- goods should be distributed equally unless an inequality renders someone worse off b) equal opportunity for political office, etc. Advantage of Bentham and Mill’s greatest happiness principle- moral rules no longer mysterious, but are subordinate to promoting human happiness and welfare Prof: “Let justice be done and so punish the world” Golden rule- has to presuppose self-interest; doesn’t take into account the individual preferences of people, for example can’t just have jazz Universalization test- Kant’s categorical imperative- logical contradiction, contradiction of will. Rawls chapters 27-28 what if parties in original position choose utilitarianism? Depends on how risk averse they are • Rawls says they will want maxi-min • Supposed to be better than intuition (Rawls’theory) Procedural approach seems to have problems Difference principle is immune to levelling down objection- if one is blind, take the eyes of everyone else- Margaret Thatcher’s argument Temkin: no change in distribution is justified which does not benefit someone Walzer’s spheres of justice- different goods have different distributions, ex: medicine distributed according to need, and different spheres shouldn’t invade each other Cohen’s objection- his book “Rescuing Justice and Equality” in which he tries to rescue justice from John Rawls • Attacks difference principle- if minimum is increased, inequality could be tolerated • It’s possible to have an equal aggregate if people weren’t so selfish Robert Nozick’s libertarian critique Entitlement theory- goods can’t be coercively redistributed, for there is an initial acquisition of property and transfers are consensual (non-coercive) Patterned Theory- first pick your favourite kind of justice theory, then imagine Wilt Chamberlain. Everyone gives Wilt money to see him play basketball, making him richer than everyone else. Should the government take away Wilt’s money? Therefore Nozick argues that justice is unpatterned. Liberty upsets patterns, as some save, squander, or invest their money Libertarian Critique of Rawls’Egalitarianism March 20, 2014 Robert Nozick follows Locke on self-ownership Cohen noticed Marxists have problems with property ownership. Individuals have inviolable rights Kant’s injunction (second formulation of the categorical imperative): treat people as ends and never as means Rights as side constraints on action- can be done as long as they don’t violate others’rights that constrain those of the actor Dworkin- rights as trumps- rights can override, constrain other motivations to act. (Trump is a suit in playing cards that can beat any other suit). Nozick shares this view Even rights-consequentialism is ruled out (action is right if it maximises respect for rights overall, and minimises violation of rights, known as the utilitarianism of rights) because it treats some as mere means rather than ends The difference of rights consequentialism with deontological rights is that as opposed to havin
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