PHIL 2 2 Essay

Submitted By Ho-Michelle
Words: 2120
Pages: 9

Wilt Chamberlain, an extremely popular basketball player, is greatly in demand by basketball teams being a gate attraction. He signed a contract with a team which says “In each home game, twenty-five cents from the price of each ticket of admission goes to him”. Robert Nozick, who advocating a minimal state called “libertarianism”, assumes that one million people are willing to freely give twenty-five cents each to watch him play basketball. Is Wilt entitled to the $250,000 which is much larger than anyone else get? Nozik argued this using his “entitlement theory of justice”, and discussed how liberty upsets patterns in this example. Also he argues that “taxation of earnings from labor is on a par with forced labor”, in other words, when people are forced to pay taxes for what they earn from labor, they are forced to labor. In this paper I will argue that, poor or rich, we are all a part of our society, taxes help those in need and maintain the services required for a functional society, we are entitled to things as long as we followed the principles like Nozick argued, but taxation is not totally equal to forced labor. “If each person’s holdings are just, then the total set (distribution) of holdings is just”(Nozick, P515). It says that people are entitled to their holdings as long as they acquired them through a freely exchange with someone else who acquired them justly as well. As long as people acquired their holdings justly without force, they are entitled to those holdings, regardless of whether others have less or have nothing. The principles of justice in holdings include three major topics according to Nozick’s entitlement theory, which are justice of acquisition, justice of transfer, and the rectification of injustice in holdings. The first principle is the “original acquisition of holdings, the appropriation of upheld things”(Nozick, P513), if you acquired something justly, then it is just to own it. Second is the transfer of holdings from one person to another, which means if someone who justly owns some things and freely transfer that thing to another, then the second person is justly own it. The third principle is the rectification of violations of the first two principles. If someone acquired holdings unjustly like steal, defraud, or enslave, this person violates the first two principles of justice in holdings. Then this situation should be rectified.
In the Wilt Chamberlain example, people who give their twenty-five cents acquired the money justly and they are willing to give it to Wilt which means they justly transfer the money to Wilt, as long as Wilt doesn’t pickpockets these people and doesn’t violate the first two principles in holdings, he is entitled to own the $250,000. I will discuss more about his just entitlement in the rest of this essay. Different from Rawls, Nozick’s entitlement theory is unpatterned. The way to interpret an unpatterned theory of justice is to not determine who is to get what, but what means who can get what. It doesn’t require that the distribution are resulted from just acquisitions, transfers and rectifications that are patterned, people may be entitled to things got by chance or gift. Under pattern theories, people should fairly distribute the sum total of goods in patterns corresponding to worth, need, etc. However Nozick believes that things are never collected into a sum total to be allocated by a central distributing authority. Because he doesn’t believe that there is a central distributor, and no one is entitled to control all the resources and decide how they should be doled out. The Wilt Chamberlain example is an attempt to show that patterned principles of wealth distribution are conflicting with liberty. Nozick assumes that the favoured distribution in society is D1 and the new distribution of $250,000 is D2. If each person freely exchanges some of his D1 with Wilt and D1 was a just distribution, according to Nozick’s theory, if a certain