Chapter 16 Essay Questions

Chapter 16 Essay Questions


1.   What is economic egalitarianism? In your opinion, what is the best argument against economic egalitarianism that is discussed in this chapter? Present and defend that argument and then offer what you take to be the strongest response to that argument on behalf of economic egalitarianism.


2.   Explain in your own words what the Rawlsian original position is and what it is supposed to show us. In your explanation, be sure to defend the maximin principle and the difference principle. Is Rawls right in the conclusions he draws from this thought experiment? Defend your answer.


3.   In your own words, explain the difference principle and why Rawls thinks the negotiators behind the veil of ignorance would choose it. Do you think this is the right principle for him to adopt? Is it better or worse than the principle of utility? Defend your answer.


4.   In your own words, explain Nozick’s entitlement theory of justice. What are his three principles of justice in holdings, and why does Nozick think they are necessary and sufficient for a theory of distributive justice? Do you agree with Nozick’s theory? Why or why not?


5.   What is the Lockean proviso? What role does it play in Nozick’s argument? Do you agree with Nozick’s claim that “the free operation of a market system will not actually run afoul of the Lockean proviso”? Explain and defend your answers.


6.   Frankfurt considers and responds to several arguments for economic egalitarianism. Which argument that he considers is the strongest, in your opinion? Present the argument as a series of numbered premises leading to a conclusion. How does Frankfurt respond? Is his response successful?


7.   Describe someone who has enough, according to Frankfurt’s definition. Do you think this person is automatically living a morally good life? Why or why not? What, if any, charitable obligations do you think they have?


8.   Of the complaints about taxation that Anderson considers, which one do you think holds the most weight? Present that complaint as an argument in premise–conclusion form. How does Anderson respond to that complaint? Do you think her response successfully refute the argument? Why or why not?


9.   Anderson argues that the need for insurance in a volatile economy, but not concerns of moral desert, justifies redistributive taxation. What are her reasons for holding this position? Do you agree with it? What duties, if any, does the government have to protect its citizens from market volatility?


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