From John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice: “My aim is to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract as found, say, in Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. In order to do this we are not to think of the original contract as one to enter a particular society or to set up a particular form of government. Rather, the guiding idea is that the principles of justice for the basic structure of society are the object of the original agreement. They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association. These principles are to regulate all further agreements; they specify the kinds of social cooperation that can be entered into and the forms of government that can be established. This way of regarding the principles of justice I shall call justice as fairness.”
1) The purpose of the social contract, according to Rawls in this passage is:
a) To establish a particular form of government, in as much detail as possible.
b) To establish the basic principles that should underlie any just and good government.
c) To dismantle government and society and allow individuals to go back to the state of nature.
d) To regulate all agreements between individuals to make sure freedom is eliminated from society.
2) One possible criticism of Rawls’ theory, which he addresses in the paragraph above is:
a) Rawls is too interested in equality and not enough in freedom, because he never mentions freedom at all. To this, Rawls responds that equality is obviously more important than freedom.
b) Rawls is racist, because he believes that the theory of justice as fairness applies only to Europeans. To this, Rawls replies that he believes all races are equal and deserve justice and fairness.
c) Rawls is too naïve, because he expects people to be disinterested when discussing justice. To this, Rawls replies that he is actually assuming that the individuals entering the social contract will be free, rational, and self-interested.
d) Rawls is a communist, because he believes that equality means everybody should have the exact same amount of everything. To this, Rawls responds that he would accept a little bit of inequality if it was good for society as a whole.
From John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice: “One should not be misled, then, by the somewhat unusual conditions which characterize the original position. The idea here is simply to make vivid to ourselves the restrictions that it seems reasonable to impose on arguments for principles of justice, and therefore on these principles themselves. Thus it seems reasonable and generally acceptable that no one should be advantaged or disadvantaged by natural fortune or social circumstances in the choice of principles. It also seems widely agreed that it should be impossible to tailor principles to the circumstances of one’s own case. We should insure further that particular inclinations and aspirations, and persons’ conceptions of their good do not affect the principles adopted.”
3) In this passage, Rawls discusses the “Veil of Ignorance” necessary for his original position. The purpose of the Veil of Ignorance is:
a) To insure no one knows anything about the advantages or disadvantages they have, so they can’t tailor principles to the circumstances of their own case.
b) To tailor the circumstances of one’s own case by establishing advantages that no one else enjoys in the society.
c) To eliminate all restrictions on individuals when it comes to selecting the principles of justice, and make sure they know all their advantages and disadvantages.
d) To make sure the principles of society are neither reasonable nor generally acceptable, because those qualities make it harder to establish justice.
From Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia: The term ‘distributive justice’ is not a neutral one. Hearing the term ‘distribution’, most people presume that some thing or mechanism uses some principle or criterion to give out a supply of things. […] There is no central distribution, no person or group entitled to control all the resources, jointly deciding how they are to be doled out. What each person gets, he gets from others who give it to him in exchange for something, or as a gift.
4) In this passage, Nozick is arguing against the following position held by John Rawls:
a) Individuals should be free and self-interested.
b) Society should redistribute wealth to achieve more equality.
c) There is no central distribution, no person or group entitled to control resources.
d) People should give each other gifts as often as possible.
From Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia: “The general outlines of the entitlement theory illuminate the nature and deficits of other conceptions of distributive justice. The entitlement theory of justice in distribution is historical; whether a distribution is just depends on how it came about and whether it is legitimate according to the principles of just acquisition and transfer. In contrast, time-slice principles of justice holds that the justice of a distribution is determined by how things are distributed.”
5) In this passage, Nozick is introducing his Entitlement Theory. According to this theory,
a) To determine whether a distribution of wealth is fair, we have to attempt that each person in society has about the same wealth as anyone else.
b) To determine whether a distribution of wealth is fair, we have to follow what other conceptions of justice tell us to do.
c) To determine whether a distribution of wealth is fair, we have to look at how wealth is distributed right now, and how it might be in the future.
d) To determine whether the distribution of wealth is fair, we have to consider how each person got what they have
6) Given the information in the passages above regarding Rawls’ theory of justice as fairness and Nozick’s entitlement theory, which of the following statements is most accurate?:
a) Rawls’ theory is concerned with the end result of social arrangements, while Nozick’s focuses on principles of legitimacy and not on consequences.
b) Nozick’ theory is concerned with the end result of social arrangements, while Rawls’ focuses on principles of legitimacy and not on consequences.
c) Both Rawls and Nozick are concerned with the end result of a social arrangement and not at all with principles of legitimacy.
d) Neither Rawls not Nozick is concerned with the end result of a social arrangement and instead both focus on principles of legitimacy.