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Rawls and Nozick have different conceptions of justice and liberty because of their divergences on deserts, government’s role in ensuring justice, and whether justice or liberty is more important than the other. The paper asserts that Rawls has a more superior theory of justice than Nozick because he relates his theory of justice to liberty and rights and justifies the importance of justice to liberty, while Nozick’s framework of justice may improve liberty’s basis for individual rights, but his theory can lead to gross inequalities that can be justified as moral. Rawls says that we do not deserve the talents and natural gifts we are born with and the products we get from them because we are all born with some form of social advantage/disadvantage in one way or another, but such social inequality can be fixed to promote justice. He asserts that people start from biased positions in life that impact their social status, which, in turn, shapes his conception of justice. Rawls says that a man is not born equal with another because “[h]is character depends in large part upon fortunate family and social circumstances for which he can claim no credit” (Rawls 219). People are not born equal if they are born with varying levels of social advantage or disadvantage. ...
He argues that people with more social and wealth endowments should sacrifice for the poor to reduce injustice in the world. Rawls underlines the role of the government and institutions in addressing inequality: “What is just and unjust is the way that institutions deal with these facts [of injustice through inequality]” (Rawls 218). In particular, Rawls stresses that what is just is to redistribute wealth to benefit the most worst off: “Those who have been favored by nature…may gain from their good fortune only on terms that improve the situation of those who have lost out” (Rawls 218). In other words, Rawls is saying that people do not deserve what they get from their talents and natural gifts, if others in society are worse off than they are, and to correct this, the government must step in to redistribute wealth that can lead to greater equality. To do this is to just, according to Rawls. Nozick disagrees with Rawls and argues for private property rights where we deserve our talents and natural gifts and the products we get from them. Nozick asserts that a particular distribution of goods is just depending on how it came about (110), where people are seen as ends, not means to an end, whatever that end may be. He states: “An end-state view…would express the view that people are ends and not merely means” (104). The paper interprets that, if people are ends, then the state should not see them as means of improving justice. In addition, Nozick offers three kinds of justice to argue that people deserve the talents and natural gifts they have and the products from them. He asserts the first form of justice, where a person who acquires property “in accordance with the ...Show more


Name Instructor Class 25 November 2013 Rawls and Nozick: On Justice and Liberty Justice and liberty are two concepts that are important to one’s life because they can affect if and how much individual rights are compromised for the protection of collective or social rights…
Author : zbotsford
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