This paper compares two famous political philosophers John Rawls and Robert Nozick and their approaches to social justice

Essay by alimbaeva_aCollege, Undergraduate May 2009

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Aisalkyn Alimbaeva

Reflection Paper

Social Justice

John 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...