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Influences of John Locke and John Rawls in shaping Robert Nozick’s Entitlement theory of justice

Charles C. Nweke
JohnPaul C. Enemuo


Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory of Justice was captured in his book Anarchy, State and Utopia. This book became widely celebrated in 1975 and won for itself, the US National Book Award in the category of Philosophy and Religion. It has been translated into eleven different languages and named one of the hundred most influential books between 1945 and 1995. This theory of justice actually has a heritage, it has a stem, and what influenced it. For everything, there is a cause and effect, no one speaks from nowhere. Consequently, using analysis as a method in philosophy, this paper would break into its constituent parts, the various postulations by John Locke and John Rawls respectively which form the background for Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory of Justice. The paper found out that Robert’s theory is a property right based theory and has a heritage from John Locke’s defence of private property. It has another influence in the form of a reaction from John Rawls difference principle. These two thoughts from Locke and Rawls actually formed the spring board from which the Entitlement Theory of Justice Emanated. John Locke gave the premise on how to become entitled to a property while John Rawls demonstrated on the distribution of entitlement in his distributive justice.