EVALUATION OF ROBERT NOZICK’S ENTITLEMENT THEORY

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ABSTRACT

Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory consists of three principles of justice in Acquisition, in Transfer and in Rectification. The entitlement theory of Nozick entails that a person is entitled to a holding if he followed the principle of acquisition, transfer and rectification. Raising the issue of equitable distribution and individual appropriation, Nozick’s entitlement theory of individual right and private property right defends free market and absolute private property right. This thesis is meant therefore, to solve the problem of individual appropriation of property, problem of how resources should be distributed and the problem of extent of object with which one mixes one’s labour. Claiming ownership of a property because of the mixing of one’s labour has a limit for which one can mix one’s labour. Equitable distribution is such that is not characterized by ‘the winner takes it all’ type of distribution. This thesis attempts reconciling persistent issues and debates that revolve around entitlement and how resources seems to be distributed,  using historical, expository, analytical and critical methods to appraise Nozick’s theory. Contrary to the belief among libertarians and Nozick in particular that justice entails that the state; cannot regulate what citizens eat or drink or acquire, cannot administer mandatory social insurance, cannot regulate economic life in general, etc, property rights cannot exist without the state. Property rights are not only held against the state, as is commonly thought, but are parasitic upon the existence of the state. The determinacy of an entitlement will necessarily rely upon it being recognized and enforced by some kind of political organisation. Without the state, property rights, as rights of exclusion do not exist, since they suffer continually from an indeterminacy problem.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1.4 Scope of the study
1.5 Significance of Study
1.6 Thesis of the study
1.7Research Methodology
1.8 Clarification of Concepts

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER THREE: ENTITLEMENT THEORY
3.0. A Sketch of Robert Nozick’s Biodata
3.1. Background to Nozick’s Entitlement Theory
3.2. Exposition of Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory
3.2.1. State of Nature
3.2.2. The state
3.2.3. Dominant Protection Association
3.2.4. Minimal and Ultra minimal State
3.2.5. Prohibition and Compensation- Retributive Theory
3.2.6. Against the Anarchist
3.2.7. Nozick’s Libertarianism and Justice
3.2.8. On Entitlement Theory

CHAPTER FOUR: EVALUATION
An Appraisal

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPY

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
This study rose as a consequence of the researcher’s interest on the consequence of the 2012 pension fund scam in Nigeria on the retirees. One of the reasons for embarking on pension administration in every country is to render people’s savings to them after their retirement. Hence, they have a right to what actually belongs to them (i.e. their contributions to the pension scheme while in active service). The fraud and embezzlement in the management of pension funds in the country is a denial of the retirees of what they actually deserve, merit or their entitlement thereby forcing people who have served their country in all honesty, to retire into abject poverty and penury. This is an infringement on the rights of the retirees. Where then lies the faith of these retirees that their entitlement or rights to their belongings have been denied? Giving to everyone what he or she is entitled to, is his right and that is justice. How can these retirees reclaim what belongs to them? John Rawls claims that ‘justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of system of thought’.1 What will the state do to see that the retirees are given what they are entitled to?
Nozick’s entitlement theory is an attempt to describe ‘justice in holdings’ or what can be said about and done with the property people own when viewed from a principle of justice. Nozick uses this entitlement theory to explain how a person can be entitled to a holding in the society. The denial of one’s entitlement is the denial of one’s right to life and no one should interfere with another’s life.


1.2 Statement of the Problem
Entitlement theory is a theory of private property and distributive justice created by Robert Nozick in his book, Anarchy, State and Utopia. The theory is Nozick’s attempt to describe ‘justice in holdings’ or what can be said about and done with the property people own when viewed from a principle of justice. In line with this, Nozick said ‘whatever arises from a just situation by just steps is itself just’.2 Based on this, this study is bothered by the following problems
a.    The Problem of Individual Appropriation.
b.   The Problem of extent of object one mixes one’s labour with.
c.    The Problem of redistribution of Wealth.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
 Nozick uses the apparatus of his theory to find out how possible it is to have a just and stable society of free citizens, who are not under coercion and intimidation by the government and society. On this account, the purpose of this thesis is to examine the extent to which his theory advances in explanation of ownership of property in the society as manifested in strong system of private ownership of property and free market economy. This study also aims at investigating the link between the state and property rights.
1.4 Scope of the Study

The scope of this work is limited to Robert Nozick’s political philosophy, and more precisely his entitlement theory of justice, which has to do with justice in holding or what can be done with the property people own when viewed from the angle of justice. It does not claim to be exhaustive. This is because the problem associated with this topic is not entirely new in the philosophical world.....

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