October 30 Bruno Verbeek (Leiden) ‘You Did Not Build that Road: Reciprocity, Benefits, Opportunities and Taxing the Extremely Rich’Posted: September 26, 2013
16:30 – 18:00
Dante Building Room 7 (DZ7)
Recently, many states in the Western world, confronted with a fall in revenues and rising debts on the one hand and growing economic inequality on the other, have taken a critical look at the tax rates for the extremely rich. In various places, policies have been proposed to the effect that the 1% of the highest income earners should pay (much) more in taxes than they currently do.
A typical argumentative strategy that is used to argue for increases in the marginal tax burden for the extremely rich is to argue that the extreme rich amassed their wealth by taking advantage of economic opportunities that they did not create themselves. Other members of society created those opportunities and reciprocity therefore demands that the extremely rich ‘pay’ for these opportunities they enjoyed.
In this paper I argue, first, that arguments like these fail: they do not justify a marginally higher tax burden on the extremely rich. Secondly, I argue that this type of argument appeals to a principle according to which taxation is the price a citizen pays for the enjoyment of the benefits the state provides. Third, I will show that such a principle not only undercuts the argument, but also that it mandates a flat tax rate if not a lump-sum tax.
In the final part of the paper, I briefly discuss an argument for taxing the extremely rich that does not appeal to a benefit principle. This argument proceeds from the idea that justice demands that taxation is levied according to the ability to pay. Social-democrats and left liberals who are concerned about the extremely high incomes on the top end of the income distribution are better advised to adopt such a strategy.
November 13 Hadassa A. Noorda (UvA) ‘Preventive Deprivations of Liberty: Asset Freezes and Travel Bans’Posted: September 23, 2013
Dante Building Room 7 (DZ7)
Time 16:30 – 1800
This paper examines preventive constraints on suspected terrorists that can lead to restrictions on liberty similar to imprisonment and disrespect the target’s autonomy. In particular, it focuses on two examples: travel bans and asset freezes. It seeks to develop a framework for setting appropriate substantive and procedural limits on their future use. Preventive constraints do not generate legal protections as constraints in response to conduct do. In addition, these constraints are often seen as a permissible alternative to imprisonment. Still, preventive de facto detentions imperil the free and autonomous life of the targeted person.
This paper accepts the peacetime paradigm and the preventive frame in which these constraints are used, but it argues for enhanced safeguards. With the recognition that preventive constraints can infringe on one’s ability to lead a free and autonomous life, this paper argues that some of these constraints require similar protections as their counterparts that put persons under lock and key.
October 7th: Alan Thomas (Tilburg) ‘High on the Hog? What is Higher Order in the Higher Order Global States Theory of Consciousness?’Posted: September 22, 2013
Centre for Philosophical Psychology, Antwerp University
18:00 Lange Winkjelstraat 2000 Antwerp
‘Between Perception and Action’ Project
Van Gulick has developed, as a new option in the dialectic between First Order Representationalist and Higher Order Theories of consciousness (in either HOP or HOT variants) a view that explains consciousness in terms of higher order global states (HOGS). The HOGS approach takes the distinction between lower order and higher order states to be a matter of degree, not of kind: consciousness involves a lower order state being integrated into a more global representation. This paper considers two interpretations of HOGS theory, one reductionist and one non-reductionist. It is argued that while, in one sense, HOGS theory shows that the language of “levels” is an interpretative artefact, it is an indispensable fiction in theorising about consciousness. Van Gulick plausibly specifies various cognitive tasks that are only discharged at his “higher order” level; this paper focuses not on the (lower order) informational basis from which the concepts deployed in these tasks are extracted, but on the (higher order) resources that the system has to have in order to extract them. I will argue that this supports a non-reductionist reading of the HOGS project.