ROBERT NOZICK Distributive Justice. The term “distributive justice” is not a neutral one. Hearing the term. “distribution,” most people presume that some thing or. distributive justice; in the next chapter we shall take up diverse other claims. The term “distributive justice” is not a neutral one. Hearing the term “distribution,”. Entitlement theory is a theory of distributive justice and private property created by Robert Nozick in his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The theory is Nozick’s.

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At Columbia, he was a founder of what was to become the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. It may be that you do have a right to forbid an action but only provided you compensate those to whom it is forbidden.

The best-known such principle, some version of which Nozick seems to endorse, is the one enshrined in Locke’s theory of property, according roberr which a person being a self-owner owns his labor, and by “mixing his labor” with a previously unowned part of the natural world e. Although the activities of the framework are described in terms of protecting the rights that are affirmed in early parts of the book, the utopian advocacy of the framework does not rely upon the validity of those rights.

Finally, since these rights are not granted by disyributive, created robertt any contractual process, or accorded to individuals for the sake of advancing some optimal social outcome, jusgice they have any foundation, that foundation must consist in some morally impressive fact about the nature of individuals qua individuals.

So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything the state and its officials may do. The starting point that Locke made was that the earth is a common property whereas Nozick attempts to explain how what is unowned can become private property.

A thinker with wide-ranging interests, Robert Nozick was one of the most important and influential political philosophersalong with John Rawlsin the Anglo-American analytic tradition. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. Robert Nozick died in from stomach cancer for which he was first treated distrributive Call for libertarian rights: Christie justtice that it would be completely undermined [ 18 ]. How to cite this entry.

Entitlement theory – Wikipedia

Distributive justice, properly understood, thus does not require a redistribution jusfice wealth; indeed, it forbids such a redistribution. Stein sarcastically remarks, it therefore follows that people can sell themselves to slavery, possibly in exchange for food, and the state should enforce those contracts.

One may strongly argue that this acquisition principle is not fitting in this modern technological world; and it seems to justify earlier injustices or at least apply to highly disputable methods [ 9 ]. A minimal state would thus inevitably arise out of an originally anarchic society, given both practical circumstances and the moral requirements – concerning the prohibition of potentially rights-violating self-defense and compensation for this prohibition – binding on any agency acting to enforce the rights of others.


This level of welfare, while not equal, must be maintained via the Lockean proviso.

The rights that individuals have are moral bulwarks against behavior that promotes jkstice the most radiant—or apparently radiant—social end.

Southern Cross University Law Review 9: To Nozick, no distribution is just and there should not be redistribution at all. Nozick puts overreaching emphasis on the self-evident nature of the importance of liberty. But what follows from it, in Nozick’s view, is the surprising and radical conclusion that taxationof the redistributive sort in which modern states engage in order to fund the various programs of the bureaucratic welfare state, is distrbutive illegitimate.

Nozick may, in this way, offer as much of a foundation for adopting his natural rights stance as Rawls offers in A Theory of Justice for adopting his contractarian stance.

Entitlement theory

For the utilitarian may simply hold that the best explanation for the rationality of a given person incurring some cost for herself in order to avoid some greater cost for herself is the unrestricted rationality of minimizing net costs or maximizing distribitive benefits. Indeed, these two works essentially revived the discipline of political philosophy within the analytic school, whose practitioners had, until Rawls and Nozick came along, largely neglected it.

Everything else being equal, it seems to follow that moderately risky procedures by those independents may be suppressed or mitigated without any compensation. But the fly in the enterprise ointment is the absence of competitive market constraints on the price or the quality of the services offered by this monopoly. When clients from different agencies enter into dispute and the agencies distribytive agree on how to resolve the matter, they too will enter into conflict.

Nozick’s opponent must of course grant that this distribution is just, since Nozick has allowed the opponent himself to determine it.

There are, instead, executives, a board of directors, shareholders, clients, and the assets of the enterprise. He further emphasises on the point that labour considerations are not forced by the need to earn so that one can pay tax rather one earns and pay whatever tax turns out to be due.

Of course, a protective association in pursuit of customers might commit itself to constitution-like constraints on its decisions and conduct as a way of reassuring potential clients. This is why it is such a serious problem that Nozick never spells kustice those principles and never explains why acquisition in accordance with them has the power to engender or convey entitlements.

We should note here that what is crucial is not the bare normatively neutral fact that individuals have separate systems of ends but, rather that individuals rationally seek to promote their own ends. This gives us Nozick’s entitlement theory of distributive justice: Nozick applies this analysis to answering skepticism as follows.


Nozick calls for a three-fold distinction among agencies justlce individuals who operate outside of the dominant protective association. Entitlement theory is based on John Locke ‘s ideas. Onzick may mean simply that there is no moral balancing across individuals that requires individuals to sacrifice for others or that justifies others in imposing such sacrifices.

When asked how the bearers obtain their property, Nozick answers, it is a historical process. More feasible would be an agreement between firms to abide by certain common rules for adjudicating disputes between clients and to go along with the decisions of arbitrators retained by the firms to interpret these rules – to institute, that is, a common quasi-legal system of sorts.

When Nozick asserts that individuals possess pre-political, pre-contractual moral rights against certain things being done to them—even for the sake of ends that are or purport to be socially optimal—he is most obviously ascribing claim-rights to individuals correlative to which are pre-political and pre-contractual moral obligations of each agent not to do certain things to other individuals.

Robert Nozick (1938—2002)

Stein MS Nozick: Mack and Bryan It protects the independence of such communities and their freedom to recruit members and also protects the liberty of individuals to enter and exit communities as they respectively choose. To rise to distributivw within a given territory or with respect to a set of people, a protective agency must fairly successfully fulfill its aspiration to be the suppressor of other actors who seek to engage in rights violating force and at least to be the controller of other actors who seek to engage in rights protecting force.

According to this utilitarian, we do not have to move from the principle of individual choice to the principle of social choice. This discovery procedure like Millian experiments in living is, of course, a Hayekian invisible hand process.

The result of such conflict will be that over time a natural monopoly will occur. An egalitarian theory will select D 1 as the just distribution on the ground that it is the most equal distribution.


The ultra-minimal state has thus become a full-fledged minimal state. But one cannot assert that the reaction is impermissible in this stronger sense unless one already assumes what Nozick is purporting to show, viz. They specify types of conduct that may not be done to individuals rather than types of conduct that must be done for people.