At the next Perspectives on Science seminar on Monday 24.5., Bruno Verbeek (Leiden University) will give a presentation titled “Instrumentalism vs. Isolationism, on the appropriateness of special principles of taxation”. The seminar is organised as a joint seminar with the Moral & Political Philosophy Research Seminar series. The seminar takes place in Zoom from 2 to 4 pm.
Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.
To join the seminar, please sign up here.
Is there justice in taxation?
When reading contemporary theories of distributive justice one easily gets the impression that institutional design is merely instrumentally relevant for the implementation of the favored conception of justice. This is especially the case when thinking about the tax regime. For example, Liam Murphy and Tom Nagel in The Myth of Ownership argue that the moral evaluation of a tax regime boils down to assessing whether it is effective and efficient in realizing the preferred overall pattern of distribution. As a result, they claim that there are no special, domain-specific, normative principles for taxation.
In this paper, I discuss four arguments for this negative conclusion and show that these are inconclusive. I also suggest some reasons to believe that the question whether the tax system is just is not exhausted by determining its contribution to a just distribution of burdens and benefits.
Bruno Verbeek is university lecturer at the Institute of Philosophy at Leiden University (Netherlands) since 2003. In 2012 he founded the Centre for Political Philosophy and currently serves as its director. He has published on game-theoretic analyses of social norms, as well as on rational choice accounts of commitment. Currently, he is working on the idea of authority. In addition he has a strong interest in matters of applied economic distributive justice, especially, in the area of taxation.