David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (1):164-186 (2007)
This paper critically assesses the “procedural” accounts of political justice set forth by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice (1971) and Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974). I argue that the areas of agreement between Rawls and Nozick are more significant than their disagreements. Even though Nozick offers trenchant criticisms of Rawls's argument for economic redistribution (the “difference principle”), Nozick's own economic libertarianism is undermined by his “principle of rectification,” which he offers as a possible ground in practice for the application of something like the difference principle. Both Rawls's and Nozick's accounts of justice fail because of their abstraction from human nature as a ground of right. At the same time the libertarianism on which they agree in the non-economic sphere would deprive a free society of its necessary moral underpinning. Rawls and Nozick err, finally, by demanding that the policies pursued by a just society conform to theoretical formulas concocted by philosophy professors, rather than leaving room (as Lockean liberalism does) for the adjustment of policies to particular circumstances based on statesmen's prudential judgment and the consent of the governed. Particularly troubling from the perspective of a citizen seriously concerned with the advancement of justice and freedom is both thinkers' shrill denunciations of existing liberal societies for failing to conform to their particular strictures.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Shaun Young (2007). Considering Reasonableness. Politics and Ethics Review 3 (2):163-80.
Martin Lipscomb (2013). Some May Beg to Differ: Individual Beliefs and Group Political Claims. Nursing Philosophy 14 (4):254-270.
Similar books and articles
Helga Varden (2009). Nozick's Reply to the Anarchist What He Said and What He Should Have Said About Procedural Rights. Law and Philosophy 28 (6):585-616.
Thaddeus Metz (2000). Arbitrariness, Justice, and Respect. Social Theory and Practice 26 (1):25-45.
Hennie Lötter (1999). Rawls, Young, and the Scope of Justice. Theoria 46 (94):90-107.
Matt Zwolinski (2008). The Separateness of Persons and Liberal Theory. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (2):147-165.
Ralf M. Bader & John Meadowcroft (eds.) (2011). The Cambridge Companion to Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Cambridge University Press.
Larry A. Alexander (1985). Fair Equality of Opportunity. Philosophy Research Archives 11:197-208.
Helga Varden (2009). Nozick's Reply to the Anarchist. Law and Philosophy 28 (6):585 - 616.
Emanuela Ceva (2008). Impure Procedural Justice and the Management of Conflicts About Values. Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):5-22.
Loren E. Lomasky (2005). Libertarianism at Twin Harvard. Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (1):178-199.
Cristina Lafont (2003). Procedural Justice?: Implications of the Rawls-Habermas Debate for Discourse Ethics. Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (2):163-181.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads120 ( #10,612 of 1,679,439 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #29,210 of 1,679,439 )
How can I increase my downloads?