Theory of Justice

Philosophy 1010Y (01)
Wednesday April 4th 2012
Peter Andersen (B00572488)

3. What is Robert Nozick’s “Wilt Chamberlain” example supposed to show? Does it succeed? Why or Why not? Be sure to consider the objections by Rauls and Nielsen.
At first glance, the Wilt Chamberlain example seems to be flawless. However four criticisms have been made by the work of John Rauls and Kai Nielsen. I will argue two of these criticisms that are the most relevant to the example. Justice in Transfer remains just as long as it is voluntary and meets a special rule (The Lockean Proviso)
The Wilt Chamberlain example is supposed to show justice in holdings (justice in acquisition and justice in transfer). Justice in Acquisition states that ownership is the default condition whenever something is claimed and meets the Lockean Proviso. In the original acquisition of a holding there must be “enough and as good” left of the thing left for others (Nozick, p175). Justice in Transfer is the transfer of one’s holdings to another in a voluntary transaction. Before explaining the Wilt Chamberlain example I will first explain the Lockean Proviso fully. The Lockean Proviso states that natural resources can be owned by the first person to acquire it, however they must leave “enough and as good” for others, for the next person to claim. One way of looking at this is that the first person to claim would have to leave half for others and the next following person would have to leave half of that half for others. However eventually there will not be enough left over for someone, therefore making it impossible to meet the Lockean Proviso. The other way of looking at it is that the original owner of the land must be willing to share or sell some of their land in a way of stating that not just one person can own the entire space of land. “Thus a person may not appropriate the only water hole a desert an charge what he will. Nor may he charge what he will if he possesses one, and unfortunately it...