Rawls vs Nozick

Rawls vs Nozick


I know. This is a very tall order, but is it possible for you to characterize comparatively brief Context like a television discover. What it is that Rawls is saying Yes III think for for that purpose. It would be a good idea to take up two topics in the book first is The topic of the method he suggests and employs and the second the conclusions he reaches now And I think it’s useful to distinguish them because some people are impressed with the one and not the other the method is Arresting it’s in it’s intriguing Rawls tells us that when we’re concerned with questions of justice what rules that could govern the basic structure of a society would be just That the we ought to think about those in the following Way we ought to tell ourselves a fairy story first on we ought to Imagine a congress of men and women who don’t belong any particular society yet Who come together in a kind of constitutional convention? They’re going to agree among themselves on a constitution how their Society is to be run and they’re like everybody else these people they have specific identities specific weaknesses specific strengths interest the only thing that makes them different is that they suffer from a Total amnesia there was crippling kind of amnesia They don’t know who they are they? Don’t know whether they’re old or young men or women black or white talented or stupid In particular is very important. They don’t know what their own individual Moralities are theirs. They don’t know each one has Some conception of what he wants his life to be like what his Preferences are in sexual morality and so forth but no one knows what his views are on those questions So it’s as if as in Rawls’s phrase they were separated from their own personalities by a veil of ignorance Now these amnesiacs nevertheless must agree on a political Constitution Rawls says if we ask ourselves what people in this strange situation Would agree upon by way of a constitution that the answer to that question will be for that reason principles of justice This is a somewhat far-fetched thing to ask people to assume isn’t it well it’s it’s of course far-fetched to ask them to assume that it ever has happened, or could have yeah, it’s a dramatic way of asking people to imagine Themselves making considered choices in their own self-interest But without knowing things which separate one person from another and that’s of course just a way of enforcing a certain conception of equality on political decisions but but for the moment It’s can we I think it’s better to not to leave behind the myth because the myth has itself great power now the question is What would people in this situation agree upon and that’s the second question namely the second topic namely? What conclusions does this method yield? these are two and Rawls calls them the two principles of justice they are principles I should say for a society with a certain measure of economic development So that there’s enough to feed everyone once you reach that point says Rawls people in the original position is it cause this strange situation Would agree on the following two principles first? Everyone shall have to the greatest degree possible The basic liberties which Rawls enumerates these basic liberties are the political the conventional political liberties Liberty devote liberty to speak on political matters freedom of conscience They also include freedom to hold personal property to be protected in your person not to be arrested Suddenly and without due cause and so for the conventional what you might call liberal Liberties are protected in this way Secondly The second principle of justice no inequality In society and distribution no difference in wealth is to be tolerated Unless that difference works for the benefit of the worst off group in the society It’s a very dramatic principle the second principle It means that if you could change society by making it overall poorer so the middle class for instance was work substantially worse all you should do so if The result of that is to benefit the lowest off group in the society So you have two principles the first is the principle that says there are certain liberties that must be protected. The second is the rather more egalitarian Principle that says look to the situation of the worst off group every change in the social structure should benefit that group The two principles are related through what Rawls calls the principle of priority he calls it a lexicographic ordering and Says that the first principle dominates over the second what that means is that? Even if for example it would benefit the worst off group in the society To abridge political liberties take away rights of free speech even if that would benefit the worst off groups in society You must not do it only when Liberty has been Protected to the full are you entitled to consider the economic questions raised by the second principle when you do come to those? Economic considerations you must benefit the worst off class, but you can’t do that until everyone’s liberties as sufficiently protected What do you yourself regard as the chief shortcomings of the theory I think that Rawls relies too much on rather technical arguments appealing in a very lurid way to Recent work in economics about what people in his original position would do and I think those arguments are to some degree? Flawed that is doesn’t seem to be Inevitable that people in his original position would come up with just what is I think what’s more? Important and what I wish he had stressed more is The deep theory that underlies the use of this device the sort of thing that you asked for when you say quite rightly Why should what people decide him is rather strange situation. Why should that have to do with? Justice so I think it’s a weakness that he as it were hides The real craft or pier to hide the real question But I also think that’s the great strength of the book that is this is the kind of a book? in which the Usefulness the importance of the book is not exhausted by the particular arguments It made it presents us with an enterprise and says to us look if you if these conclusions are appealing to you If the idea that we must think about justice by thinking about them through these devices of fairness is it all appealing Why is that so doesn’t this tell us something about our philosophical? Capacities doesn’t it tell us something about our moral capacities that we think this doesn’t help to structure. How we think about no It’s an enterprise Rawls book one of the reasons why it’s so important is that it’s launched an Enterprise of thinking along these lines of which he would be the first to say that this book is only at the beginning Each person who reads it will have a different vision of what the enterprise is I for one have a particular Way of reading this book that makes it seem more important to me and And that is this It does seem to me that the great question the root question for liberalism by liberalism of course I don’t mean party politics and that I’m not referring to the Liberal Party as a party in this country I mean that the the philosophic doctrine the philosophic political theory called liberalism the root question It seems to me is this There are two possible approaches to the question of what is just what is justice in community One theory says that the answer time what is justice what arrangements of goods in society is just Depends upon the answer to a further question namely What kinds of lives should men and women lead what counts as excellence in a human being? one theory says treat people as Excellent people according to some theory would wish to be treated the liberal rejects that notion of justice he says that justice has a call Upon institutions, which is independent of any particular? notion of what the good life is but rather can appeal to people as a way of regulating society that can be agreed upon Rationally by people who hold very different kinds of theories of let’s say personal morality This book is an attempt to show how far unappealing and altruistic and humane Political theory can be generated consistent with the basic posture that of liberalism on this conception Namely that it’s neutral amongst the various personal moralities that people hold I’d like to move on love rolls to the other Important book that I named depart for your air namely Anarchy state and utopia by Robert Nozick We’ve I wouldn’t ask you to deal with that at such length as we’ve just discussed rules But I think it’s not so important to do so it hasn’t been quite so influential But could you do as it will do more briefly yeah, no zero out you’ve just done four roles. I’ll try Nozick starts his argument with remarkable proposition Remarkable its simplicity individuals have rights. He says and there are some things that cannot be done to them without violating their rights well that’s an unexceptional statement of course that sound then we find out what these rights are and it turns out that the Nozickian rights have this force that it is wrong either to injure a person or Take away his property for any reason Except with his consent unless To do so is necessary to protect someone else’s rights to his property or his person now this means this is very very strong Indeed it’s so strong that one might ask is it possible to have a state at all that respects that principle and Surprisingly the first third and the most densely argued part of Nozick’s book is Presented as a defense of the state itself against the anarchist Rawls Sorry Nozick obviously takes. This is no mean question and obviously it isn’t After all if you take my property away from me, then you violated my I have a right to take it back But a state claims a monopoly of the power to use force The state claims the right to stop me from taking back my property against you I’ve got to go to the police and ask them today it prevents you from taking the law into your own hands Yes, as every state must yes, but what it’s done is to violate my right? Because it stopped me from doing something which I? Have every right according to Nozick to do namely to protect my own property Which were wrongly taken from me nevertheless Nozik agrees that if everyone did take the law into his own hands That’d be Anika so the question is what’s wrong with Anika and his argument here is very elaborate It may or may not work, there’s a considerable doubt about it, but in any event the upshot of the argument is that That there can be a state There can be what knows it calls a night watchman state Which means a state that exists simply to protect property and person punish people on behalf of the people? question then arises can the state do any more than that After all modern states do a lot more than that they tax you and me and use our the money They get in tax it to help other people to do things in the common interest Knows, it gives that question a very firm answer. No the state may not do anything except Act as a night watchman it may not tax for example For any purpose other than supporting the police there had no doubt a lot of people listening who would feel some sympathy at that view Yeah And Nosek has been rather popular in certain political circles For at least this part of his views now what argument could he give for this Defense of what he calls the minimal or Nightwatchman state But his argument is this in large part its arguments typically ingenious in complex But I think the the main thrust of it comes to this he asks us to Distinguish between two kinds of theories about what he calls justice in distribution you each have certain things in society, which we own and the question is is that distribution just Now says knows like one theory is what he calls a historical theory and that says this The present Holdings are just what you own jost Lyon Provided people gave it to you voluntarily either as a gift or in return for what you did for them If however it was taken away from anyone else by taxation for example And then given to you the holding is not just this of course makes Holdings. I mean this of course would tolerate the most inequitable distribution you can imagine the second kind of theory says Nozick of Justice doesn’t appeal just to history as his does who gave who to what but rather? Offers some general pattern and says let us look at how the thing ended up The simplest form of an a pattern to theory as knows it cause them is a Galit Aryan theory Unless things ended up equal. It’s wrong Even if it was all done voluntarily Now Nozick says only a patterned theory could oppose his view of the limited power of the state because if the state is going to intervene to take money away from some and give it to others it must be in pursuit of a pattern Nozick therefore wishes to argue that any patterned Theory is Intolerable and his argument goes like this. He says suppose You could collect all the holdings every one sweep up. Everyone’s well, and they distribute it all according to your favorite pattern suppose You’re an egalitarian and you distribute the same amount to everyone now You turn your back and people are going to begin trading with one another Suppose he says users here the name of a very famous American basketball player called Wilt Chamberlain He said suppose Wilt Chamberlain plays basketball extremely well, which he does and people wish to pay money He doesn’t wish to play basketball, but people give him money. Ask him to play basketball He’s going to end up with more money than anybody else In order to stop that You are going to have to interfere with liberty to a constant degree to stop these transactions stop people from Doing what they wish to do you’re going to have to have a dictatorship, you will not preserve a patent a pattern of Justice if that’s what you want without the most serious inroads on people’s freedom Therefore you can’t have a pattern theory of justice therefore The only tolerable state is his state namely the Nightwatchman our minimal state Well this seems to be based fundamentally on a concept of the importance of free exchange Yes, that’d be right. Yes. It seems to be absolutely the route it comes back to this notion of consent Yes, anytime. You lose something it must be with your consent. Yes Yes, what would you what would you advance us the chief criticisms of Nozick’s there is to first that his? Notion of what basic rights people have namely this right not to lose their property except with their consent simply arbitrary There is some appeal in that right But there’s also plenty of appeal in competing rights which would have to Sanction inroads against it for example. I see nothing less appealing just as an intuitive beginning point with the notion that people have a right to the concern of others When they are in desperate situation themselves? Now that obviously is going to sanction things being done that know that Nozick’s basic principle wouldn’t permit Nozik has no argument for his basic right in my view. He simply presents. It as a starting point and therefore It’s an arbitrary stage that starts too far along with an arbitrary position Secondly and I think is the Wilt Chamberlain argument. I gave you. I think well illustrates his arguments tend to be all-or-nothing arguments They’re ingenious But they’re there many of them of the form it would obviously be impossible to prevent any exchanges therefore it follows that automatically if that’s a great injustice a little interference with Liberty is a Also an injustice possibly a smaller one and of course that doesn’t follow and in fact in in in American society and British society We do have the state Interfering constantly with these exchanges, but it will be quite untrue to say that this constitutes dictatorship. Yes exactly, it’s Certain the threshold of interference a threshold of degree and kind Obviously taxing a man taxing Wilt Chamberlain at the end of the year and saying you’ve got to give back half of what you’re earned is not the Kind of interference with Liberty that it would be to say no one can pay money to see him play basketball Those are two different things

51 Comments on "Rawls vs Nozick"


  1. Why not follow the video up by discussing these ideas with others? https://discord.gg/eU4GmhH

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  2. Nozick is not THAT opposed to Rawls IMO. My reading may be weird, and I may think that Nozick is about more than the devil’s advocacy you might get in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, he’s actually something much different than we think… Or perhaps I merely produce a monstrous offspring in my interpretation. Nonetheless, there is only interpretation.

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  3. I always love hearing about Rawls and Nozick because I love both of them so much as thinkers. It is a sort of dilemma😂😂 I think that either of them are better than anything we have had in America

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  4. A thoroughly articulate, thoughtful summary of extraordinarily fundamental ideas. One cannot imagine contemporary academics – of which I am a successful one – speaking so intelligently and accessibly in a public forum. An artifact from a bygone, more civilized era than the crude simulacrum we inhabit today.

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  5. I wish they talked about the monopolization of violence more, which is a core idea to Rawl's idea of liberty

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  6. It seems to me a consequence of Rawls's view is that abortion on demand is unjust. That is, if I'm behind the veil of ignorance and I don't know how I will be in the society in which we will live, I have to consider the possibility that I will be an infant or an unborn child in that society.. Now getting killed because I'm inconvenient is a more serious harm than being a woman who cannot get an abortion when the fetus's not being killed is inconvenient to her So to the extent that I'm rationally self-interested I would opt for protecting infants and fetuses–though I might opt for abortion rights when the woman's life or health is at stake. I don't know how Rawls escapes this consequence. Perhaps someone who knows the text can help.

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  7. I’ve never quite understood how ‘intellect’ fits in to the veil of ignorance. Do the individuals know their intellects once the veil is lifted? Do they not need to use their intellect to engage in the discussion about justice? Do we assume all participants have the same intellect? If so, at what level?

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  8. As a Social Liberal that doesn't have a high view on Nozick, the Libertarians/Conservatives of America would be much smarter to ditch Ayn Rand in favor of him

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  9. If people who had no life experience were to design a constitution, how could it not be a disaster?

    Liberals like to believe that the welfare state helps the poor.

    Conservatives tend to believe that the welfare state incentivizes destructive behavior that increases misery.

    Arguing those positions, as well as others, produces a government that makes more sense than any that would be dreamt up by people who've learned nothing from prior attempts at governance.

    That this "philosopher" Rawls suggests it would be a noble experiment with an awesome outcome is laughable.

    There is nothing admirable about the concept that people with no experience should draft the rules by which we live.

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  10. Hi does anyone know if there is a book or journal which outlines Dworkin's comments "this book is an attempt to show how far an appealing and altruistic and humane political theory can be generated consistent with the basic posture of liberalism on this conception namely that it is neutral among the various personal moralities that various people hold"i'd be very grateful

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  11. What would be Nozick's argument in context of global justice. Because he seems to really start on an arbitrary​ position. The colonial experience has actually made many nations worst off. And now by simply ridding the Imperial powers of any responsibility will actually be unjust. Because till an extent these countries have resulted in the underdevelopment of many nations.

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  12. Charity is a voluntary act! no one can force me to share my wealth. Why cannot Socialists understand this basic principle? Islam has Zakat which is used to redistribute wealth. But here we are not talking about Islam. I am only too concerned with the radical views that exist in Economics even today.

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  13. 1) Prohibiting people from giving you money and 2) taking the money they give you and returning it to them ARE two different things… with exactly the same effect.

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  14. Anyone with hint of a brain can see through Rawls' garbage. Why else would he devise a tool that would so robustly protect rights that are valued by the group he seems to represent and so weakly the rights that other people value.
    The group these "liberals" represent are nothing but a bunch of greedy thieves. All their theories rationalize theft while protecting rights they value. Every single one of them.
    Nozick of course destroys these absurd notions perfectly. A peaceful process is the ONLY just process. And, liberty needs no justification.
    The progressive notion is that their statism is justified and ONLY their statism is absurd.

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  15. I don't see that Rawls' ideas entail a taxation-for-welfare state.  If a certain degree of rationality is assumed for those in the original position, they may realize the difference principle is not violated if they choose to draft a contract which does not create any social welfare programs.  Also, I think Nozick's program would require taxing for more than just government provision of defense against rights violations.  When you consider free market problems like The Tragedy Of The Green or the NIMBY problem, you are getting more into the necessity of programs for the general welfare.  These paradigms show that individuals acting merely for individual benefit will fail to provide needs or highly desirable benefits to themselves which could have been provided by the state if the social contract (legal monolith) had provided for the appropriate state functions.

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  16. I had never seen Ronald Dworkin in action until here. This is done in such a high-minded manner and he provides insights (not to mention telling criticisms) into these two views. Whatever his disagreements, Dworkin does this with such verve.

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  17. I'm personally to the left but I can understand the concept behind Nozick and liberalisation of the economy. I wish he was right.

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  18. _______ 07:56 – The root question : 2 Possible Approaches to answer WHAT IS JUST ?
    08:09 – What arrangement of goods in society is just depends on the answer to a further question
    _______ 08:19 – Namely : What kinds of lives should women & men lead ?
    08:27 – One Theory :
    _______ 09:01 –

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  19. Writing a paper on Rawls v Nozick for my first ever philosophy class and this video broke down the argument so clearly and brilliantly! Salute to Dworkin

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  20. 05:06 – The Principle of Priority : The First Principle dominates the Second Principle
    _______ 05:30 –
    05:30 –
    _______ 07:13 –
    07:35 –

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  21. 01:18 – 
    _______ 01:36 –
    02:00 –
    _______ 02:32 –
    03:35 – First :
    _______ 04:08 – Secondly :
    04:33 –
    _______ 04:50 –

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  22. Fantastic Philosophers. Adv. Kessler Perumalsamy will be the worlds next best philosopher! Without a doubt!

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  23. just watched this drunk and refreshed my second year of uni. wicked guys Nozick and Rawls.

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  24. wow. Can anyone enlighten me on where Rawls would stand in relation to communitarianism? I'm a little confused and I find the criticisms that his theory of justice as merely dispensing with utilitarianism a little simplistic. Surely in his original position there is a utilitarian dimension still there? OR am I reading it all wrong??????

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  25. I love his delight that spills over at 7:27. One of life's great gifts is thinking an idea so beautiful that it actually makes you laugh for sheer joy.

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  26. Wrong. People if not coerced into a government will not agree to be governed. Change my mind. Please try.

    It's easy to convince you you cant convince me. Easy. No one will voluntarily pay taxes. Without taxes, government starves and will shortly die before sunset. So all these argument about government are exploring folly. Government starts with coercion and all coercion after that.

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