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In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic or distributive justice. This book unites philosophical discussion of justice with debates on tax policy.
In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property, Murphy and Nagel show how taxes can only be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. Justice or injustice in taxation, they argue, can only mean justice or injustice in the system of property rights and entitlements that result from a particular regime. Taking up ethical issues about individual liberty, interpersonal obligation, and both collective and personal responsibility, Murphy and Nagel force us to reconsider how our tax policy shapes our system of property rights.
In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property, Murphy and Nagel show how taxes can only be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. Justice or injustice in taxation, they argue, can only mean justice or injustice in the system of property rights and entitlements that result from a particular regime. Taking up ethical issues about individual liberty, interpersonal obligation, and both collective and personal responsibility, Murphy and Nagel force us to reconsider how our tax policy shapes our system of property rights.
Is there a limit to the legitimate demands of morality? In particular, is there a limit to people's responsibility to promote the well-being of others, either directly or via social institutions? Utilitarianism admits no such limit, and is for that reason often said to be an unacceptably demanding moral and political view. In this original new study, Murphy argues that the charge of excessive demands amounts to little more than an affirmation of the status quo. The real problem with utilitarianism is that it makes unfair demands on people who comply with it in our world of nonideal compliance. Murphy shows that this unfairness does not arise on a collective understanding of our responsibility for others' well being. Thus, according to Murphy, while there is no general problem to be raised about the extent of moral demands, there is a pressing need to acknowledge the collective nature of the demands of beneficence.
Derived from Thomas Nagel's Locke Lectures, Equality and Partiality proposes a nonutopian account of political legitimacy, based on the need to accommodate both personal and impersonal motives in any credible moral theory, and therefore in any political theory with a moral foundation. Within each individual, Nagel believes, there is a division between two standpoints, the personal and the impersonal. Without the impersonal standpoint, there would be no morality, only the clash, compromise, and occasional convergence of individual perspectives. It is because a human being does not occupy only his own point of view that each of us is susceptible to the claims of others through private and public morality. Political systems, to be legitimate, must achieve an integration of these two standpoints within the individual. These ideas are applied to specific problems such as social and economic inequality, toleration, international justice, and the public support of culture. Nagel points to the problem of balancing equality and partiality as the most important issue with which political theorists are now faced.
Can the right to private property be claimed as one of the `rights of mankind'? This is the central question of this comprehensive and critical examination of the subject of private property. Jeremy Waldron contrasts two types of arguments about rights: those based on historical entitlement, and those based on the importance of property to freedom. He provides a detailed discussion of the theories of property found in Locke's Second Treatise and Hegel's Philosophy of Right to illustrate this contrast. The book contains original analyses of the concept of ownership, the ideas of rights, and the relation between property and equality. The author's overriding determination throughout is to follow through the arguments and values used to justify private ownership. He finds that the traditional arguments about property yield some surprisingly radical conclusions.
Loren Lomasky is a leading advocate of a rights-based libertarian approach to political and social issues. This volume collects fifteen of his articles that have appeared since his influential volume Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community (OUP, 1987) alongside one new essay. The volume represents Lomasky's more recent efforts at constructing the underpinnings of liberal rights theory, in which he formulates a series of questions about the nature and scope of rights and rights holders. Among the questions Lomasky addresses: In what way is classical utilitarianism fundamentally illiberal? To what extent might utilitarian cost-benefit analyses be admissible within rights-upholding political theory? Does it even make sense to speak of maximizing liberty? How can this be understood in Hobbesian, Kantian, and Rawlsian theoretical settings? In a world in which rights-talk is ubiquitous, what is the role of traditional virtues such as loyalty and charity? Is it inconsistent to espouse both an austere classical liberalism and a social safety net? Liberalism is most often presented as a theory about the internal contours of the state, but how does it speak to the relationships between one state and another? Between the state and would-be immigrants? In a world displaying massive cross-border inequalities, does justice require the extension of aid from the rich to the poor? The book opens with an unpublished essay, "Everything Old is New Again: The Death and Rebirth of Classical Liberalism," which features a history of the century-long decline of traditional liberalism and its remarkable, unanticipated return to vitality in the second half of the 20th century. It then offers the prospectus for a libertarian research program for the next half century. "Lomasky is one of the most brilliant political philosophers of his generation and also has a great gift with the pen. He instead picks away at bad arguments and bad rhetoric whether in general agreement with his priors or not. And he likes to entertain unusual twists on arguments. The upshot is a wonderful journey through deep questions in political philosophy and organization."-Peter Boettke, University Professor of Economics & Philosophy, George Mason University

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