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Philippe Van Parijs

Philippe Van Parijs (French pronunciation: [filip vɑ̃ paʁɛjs]; Brussels, 23 May 1951) is a Belgian philosopher and political economist, mainly known as a proponent and main defender of the basic income concept.



Philippe Van Parijs studied philosophy, law, political economy, sociology and linguistics at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis (Brussels) and the Université catholique de Louvain, Oxford, Bielefeld and California (Berkeley). He holds doctorates in the social sciences (Louvain, 1977) and in philosophy (Oxford, 1980).


He is professor at the Faculty of economic, social and political sciences of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), where he directs the Hoover Chair of economic and social ethics since its creation in 1991. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University's Department of Philosophy since 2004, and at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven since 2006.

He has also held visiting positions at the Universities of Amsterdam, Manchester, Siena, Québec (Montréal), Wisconsin (Madison), Maine (Orono) and Aix-Marseille, the European University Institute (Florence), the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Beijing), the Catholic Faculties of Kinshasa (Congo), All Souls College (Oxford), Yale University, Sciences Po (Paris), the Catholic University of Uruguay and the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the École Normale Supérieure (Paris).

He is one of the founders of the Basic Income European Network (BIEN), which became in 2004 the Basic Income Earth Network, and he chairs its International Board. He coordinates the Ethical Forum of the University Foundation, as well as, with Kris Deschouwer, the Pavia Group initiative. He is a member of Belgium's Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts, of the International Institute of Philosophy, and of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and Fellow of the British Academy. In 2001, he was awarded the Francqui Prize, Belgium's most generous scientific prize.


His books include Evolutionary Explanation in the Social Sciences (1981), Le Modèle économique et ses rivaux (1990), Qu'est-ce qu'une société juste? (1991), Marxism Recycled (1993), Real Freedom for All (1995), Sauver la solidarité (1995), Refonder la solidarité (1996), Solidariteit voor de XXIste eeuw (1997), Ethique économique et sociale (2000, with C. Arnsperger), What's Wrong with a Free Lunch? (2001), Hacia una concepción de la justicia global (2002), L'Allocation universelle (2005, with Y. Vanderborght), Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World (in progress) and Cultural Diversity versus Economic Solidarity (as editor, 2004).

He speaks French, Dutch, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.


In Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism?[1] (1995) he argues for both the justice and feasibility of a basic income for every citizen. It promotes the achievement of a real freedom to make choices. For example, Van Parijs purports that one cannot really choose to stay at home to raise children or start a business if one cannot afford to. As proposed by Van Parijs, such freedom should be feasible through taxing the scarce, valued social good of jobs, as a form of income redistribution.

Another part of Van Parijs' work is about the economy of linguistic communication. In order to compensate countries with a small language for their expenses on teaching and translation he has proposed a language tax,[2] which would be paid by countries with a widespread language, for their savings on the domains mentioned.

Van Parijs's work is sometimes associated with the September Group of analytic Marxism, though he is not himself a committed Marxist.


  1. ^ Philippe Van Parijs, Real Freedom for All, What (if anything) can justify capitalism: Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995
  2. ^ Philippe Van Parijs, Europe's three language problems, Multilingualism in Law and Politics

External links



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