Justyna Miklaszewska
Jagiellonian University
An article describes liberal theories of justice presented by John Rawls and Robert Nozick. Both of these competing liberal theories, Rawls’s and Nozick’s, share a similar rationalist approach. Both philosophers start out with assumptions about human nature and from there proceed to deduce a theory of justice upon which they in turn base their vision of the perfect liberal State. For Rawls, this is a welfare State, whereas in Nozick’s theory it is a State which does not interfere in economics. On the one hand, a Platonic influence with a utopian mindset can certainly be detected here. On the other hand, contemporary American society is a point of reference for both theories. However, Rawls attempts to bring this perfect, universal model of the State closer to reality and to embody it in a liberal constitutional democracy in which human rights are protected, whereas Nozick adheres to the general utopian formula. An examination of his theory shows that justice cannot be reconciled with the ideal of a minimal State and that attempts to apply the principles of justice actually reveal the defects of his theoretical approach.
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DOI 10.35757/civ.2009.11.10
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