Sém. 06/04/18 P. Silvestri



Salle de réunion 009 GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne
10, Rue Tréfilerie
42023 Saint Etienne Cedex 2

Campus Tréfilerie - GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Maison de l'Université Bâtiment B

Paolo Silvestri, Université Fribourg, présentera un séminaire intitulé : Welfare State and Taxation, The critical point of Freedom between gift and corruption.

Thème de recherche / Main topics : Legal and Political Philosophy ; Philosophy of Economics.

Résumé / abstract  : Can taxation and the redistribution of wealth through the welfare state be conceived as a modern system of circulation of the gift ? But once such a gift is institutionalized, regulated and sanctioned through legal mechanisms, does it not risk being perverted or corrupted, and/or not leaving room for genuinely altruistic motives ? In this paper I will develop two interrelated arguments. 1) The way these problems are posed as well as the standard answers to them are : a) subject to fallacies : the dichotomy fallacy and the fallacy of composition ; b) too reductive and simplistic : we should at least try to clarify what kind of ‘gift’ or ‘corruption’ we are thinking about, and who or what the ‘giver’, the ‘corrupter’, the ‘receiver’ and/or the ‘corrupted’ party are. 2) The answers to these problems cannot be found by merely following a theoretical approach, nor can they be merely based on empirical evidence ; instead, they need to take into account the forever troublesome, ambiguous and unpredictable matter of human freedom. To explain the standard answers to the abovementioned questions as well as their implications I will first re-examine two opposing positions assumed here as paradigmatic examples of other similar positions : on the one hand, Titmuss’ work and the never-ending debate about it ; on the other, Godbout’s position, in-so-far as it shows how Titmuss’ arguments can easily be turned upside down. I will then introduce and reinterpret Einaudi’s “critical point” theory as a more complex and richer anthropological explanation of the problems and answers considered herein.

Paolo Silvestri

Welfare State and Taxation, The critical point of Freedom between gift and corruption