Essay: Nozick Rawl and the Argument of Difference Principal

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Nozick, Rawl & the argument of difference principal

The Difference Principle as seen from Robert Nozick's perspective

Robert Nozick would object to John Rawls' difference principle by emphasizing that society supports privileged individuals regardless of the fact that some people prefer to take on ignorant attitudes regarding the idea of liberty. Social status is and has always been a determinant factor differentiating between particular groups of people and it would be impossible for someone to claim that he or she is rational and to deny particular individuals the right to be privileged as long as they hold a series of attributes allowing them to be so.

Difference Principle Definition

John Rawls' 1958 essay "Justice as Fairness" promotes the idea that strict equality does not necessarily have to be considered a dominating concept in society, as by adopting its rulings individuals are likely to deny particular groups the right to experience progress alongside with the rest of the world. Rawls highlighted the fact that society creates situations involving individuals being born in entrepreneurial communities having an advantage when compared to people who are born in groups of unskilled laborers. While this is generally accepted as a logical inequality, he believed that it would be wrong for someone to support it and he accordingly devised the difference principle in an attempt to provide the world with the opportunity to look at matters from a different perspective. The difference principle states that the worst-off in society need to be provided with a fair advantage as long as there are a series of inequalities making it possible for particular individuals to distinguish themselves from the rest and to experience a smoother road to success (Cohen 1048).

Argument 2

The fact that Nozick is in support of the concept of inequality as long as it is based on logical facts would practically mean that he considers Rawls' conclusion that "those starting out as members of the entrepreneurial class in property-owning democracy, say, have a better prospect than those who begin in the class of unskilled laborers" (Cohen 1048) to be perfectly rational.

Although Nozick most certainly acknowledged that some people are born in privileged environments, he did not hesitate to emphasize that all people basically have equal opportunities as long as they go through great efforts in order to experience success. Nozick practically believed that "whatever comes about the voluntarily consent of people who do not violate the rights of others is just" (Christiano 1061)

Nozick believed that the general idea of liberty needed to be accepted as one of the most important values in society and that it was essential for its members to accept this in order for them and the masses as a whole to go through a positive experience while cooperating with each-other. The idea of equality was, from Nozick's perspective, connected with the concept of liberty and it would have been a direct violation of the right to freedom to attempt to address people's right to own property that advantaged them directly.

Nozick primarily considered that Rawls was wrong in devising his theory regarding the difference principle because he discussed with regard to how authorities allowed inequalities to exist. Inequalities existed particularly because liberty dominated society and it would thus be irresponsible and against everything that society stands for to attempt to claim that he or she 'allows' inequalities to occur.

Rawls was wrong because he failed to understand that reforming the system in order for it to provide the worst off with an advantage would seriously affect the concept of freedom. Liberty would no longer be the concept it presently is if it were for society to actually provide particular individuals with the opportunity to be privileged. Nozick thinks of the concept of privileged as being very different from how many individuals (including Rawls) are inclined to understand it. People who are born in upper class environments are not necessarily privileged because society made them that way. They are privileged because their predecessors have taken opportunity of a series of exploits at a particular moment in history and because they were better than others. Being hard-working practically makes someone privileged in the eyes… [END OF PREVIEW]

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