University of Kansas, Spring 2004
Philosophy 555: Justice and Economic Systems

Test Preview—Final Exam

The final exam will be given in the room in which we normally meet (2046 Haworth Hall) on Wednesday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. Although the officially-scheduled final-exam period is two and a half hours long, the exam will be administered only in the first hour and a half of the exam period. So, the final exam will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Please bring a blank blue book or some blank paper on which to write your answers.

The exam will consist of 100 points’ worth of questions, including at least 60 points’ worth of the following questions. The remaining questions may be similar to these, or of a different format.

  1. (20 points:) Rawls notes that his theory, like any contract theory, can be criticized either (1) in terms of its conception of the morally significant initial situation or (2) in terms of its derivation of certain principles of justice from such a situation (or both). What disagreement(s) with, or criticism(s) of, either or both of these components of Rawls’s theory can be found in, or inferred from, Nozick’s work?
  2. (20 points:) Nozick’s entitlement theory is, at least apparently, quite different in content from Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness. Is it possible for there to exist in some society, at some point in time, a state of affairs that satisfies both of these conceptions of justice? If so, is it possible for this state of affairs to evolve in such a way as to continue to satisfy both of these conceptions of justice? If so, is it likely that this would ever happen?
  3. (20 points:) Rawls and Unger both describe and employ philosophical methods in which ordinary, common-sense, moral intuitions are taken seriously, but not followed blindly. What are the similarities and differences between Rawls’s use of such intuitions and Unger’s use of such intuitions?
  4. (20 points:) Rawls and Unger both advocate broadly redistributionist theories. What are the similarities and differences between the practical implications (e.g., political implications or policy implications) of Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness and Unger’s theory of Liberationism?
  5. (20 points:) Nozick is, in some ways, less method-conscious than Unger is. Suppose one were to rewrite Anarchy, State, and Utopia using the methodological aspects of Unger's doctrine of Liberationism, but keeping the substance of Nozick’s view (his entitlement theory, etc.) instead of using the substantive aspects of Liberationism. In what way, if any, could Nozick make good use of the methodological aspects of Liberationism?
  6. (20 points:) According to Nozick, if (but not necessarily only if) he is right about the entitlement theory’s being part of morality, then there is a morally permissible way for a condition of anarchy to be transformed into a state. Now suppose Nozick subscribed to Unger’s substantive moral views, instead of the entitlement theory. What changes, if any, would have to be made to his story about how a condition of anarchy could morally permissibly be transformed into a state?

If you want me to mail your exam to you after I grade it, just give me an envelope with your address on it. If you don’t turn in an envelope to me, you can pick up your graded exam from me any time until the end of May.