essay questions

Prepare answers for the following questions, three of which will appear on the exam. Again, you will have to answer two out of three questions. Each essay should be at least 750 words long.

1. How do classical liberals define freedom? How do modern liberals define freedom? What are the fundamental differences between the classical and modern liberal conceptions of freedom? Be sure to draw on the ideas of Nozick, Dewey, and Rawls in your answer.

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2. What purpose does the original position serve in John Rawls’s theory of justice? According to Rawls, what principles will one necessarily embrace in the original position? What assumptions about human beings does he make in his argument?

3. Describe Robert Nozick’s entitlement theory. What are the major principles of his theory? On what philosophical grounds do they rest? What are the weaknesses of his theory?

4. Imagine that Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Robert Nozick, and John Rawls are sitting at a kitchen table with an extra-large pizza before them. How would each thinker propose that the slices of the pizza be distributed? What arguments would each thinker make?

5. According to Aristotle, what is the purpose of a human life? On what grounds does he make his argument? How does this connect to his conception of justice? Be sure to discuss Aristotle’s conception of justice in some depth.

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