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Question 5 – commentry from Nozick
Can you think of realistic examples where what looks like an exercise of liberty could in fact be understood as mere licence?
1.Liberty- Giving money to a poor person on the street.
Licence- The poor person using the money you gave them to buy drugs which will eventually kill them
2.Liberty- Driving someone home
Licence- Having an accident because you were tired, and weren’t concentrating on driving, resulting in injuring your passenger.
3.Liberty- Cheating in a test
Licence- Achieving a place at a school based on the test result- but someone who didn’t cheat and should have had that place not obtaining a place at all.
4.Liberty- Asking someone how their day has been (to be polite)
Licence- Upsetting them because something bad had happened to them during the day and you have now reminded them of it.
17 Jan 2006, 20:52
Question 4 – comment on Nozick
What is the distinction between need and merit? What moral does Williams draw from these cases?
Williams says all people have a need, for example a medical need, for some people this need cannot be met due to wealth. They can meet this need only due to the wealth, wheras those without it cannot even achieve basic needs. "compare rich ill and poor ill." concerned with the distribution of merit, some people can once again achieve due to money as they have the resources, but those who do not have the resources will be greatly
disadvantaged even if they have the ability to achieve.
where is the ethical right in not being able to help a sick child or send the next Einstein to university just because of money?
17 Jan 2006, 21:18
Question 1 – commentry on Nozick
Does williams offer the general argument that Nozick takes him to be offering?
Nozick says that Williams argues that actions are just,and hence should be carried out, if the internal goal of that activity is achieved. Nozick's critisism of this argument is that why should the internal goal take precedence over, say, the wants of the person carrying out the action. He uses the example of the barber. Why should the internal goal of the action – that of cutting peoples hair according to need be put before that of the wants of the hairdresser – for example, wanting to cut peoples hair who tip well in order to give his children a good education.
However, this is not the argument that Williams offers for all distributions. The extract that Nozick quotes and discusses is about medical care. However, Williams does not intend this claim to apply to all distributions. Williams says that medical care differs from other distributions as it depends upon need and not merit. Therefore Nozick is misrepresenting William's argument.
17 Jan 2006, 21:52
Question 6 – Commentry on Nozick
Is it resonable to require Williams to argue for the claim described in the passage?
Williams did not argue for the idea that societies must provide for theneeds of its members. Williams simply raised the issue of the difficultyof firstly understanding the term "equality", and secondly the difficultyof equality existing as one ideal as he discussed its many strands.
However it could have been benificial for Williams article to argue for
this claim, as he attempts to flag up the the notion of equality and itsmoral claim on us. Perhaps our moral claim extends to providing for the needs of all, which may be similar to his idea of "equality of
opportunity". But to claim that a society should make provisions for its members needs does not necessary suggest that it will be one of equality, as Nosik points out that " Any distributional pattern with any egalitarian component is overturnable by the voluntary actions of individual persons over time.
18 Jan 2006, 10:28
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