• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, American philosopher Robert Nozick (1938–2002) develops an entitlement theory of justice, a libertarian theory of justice centered on individual inalienable rights (including, first and foremost, liberty). As an entitlement theory, it is concerned with the justice of what one has acquired. Nozick's entitlement theory has three elements—acquisition, transfers, and rectification—which are described in greater detail below.

Nozick's theory can be classified as historical and unpatterned. Broadly, Nozick constructs a typology of theories of justice in which he distinguishes between historical and unhistorical (i.e., end state or current time slice) principles of distributive justice, as well as patterned and unpatterned principles. All four combinations of principles of distributive justice are possible, but Nozick defends his own historical unpatterned theory against the ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles