Philippe Van Parijs

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Philippe Van Parijs
Philippe Van Parijs (cropped).jpg
Born Philippe Van Parijs
(1951-05-23) 23 May 1951 (age 66)
Brussels, Belgium
Nationality Belgian
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley, Bielefeld University, Oxford University, Université catholique de Louvain, Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis
Era 20th-century philosophy, 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic, left-libertarianism
Institutions Nuffield College, Oxford, Université catholique de Louvain en Belgique, Harvard University
Main interests
Political philosophy, Political economy
Notable ideas
Basic income, linguistic justice

Philippe Van Parijs (French: [filip vɑ̃ paʁɛjs]; born 23 May 1951) is a Belgian political philosopher and political economist, mainly known as a proponent and main defender of the basic income concept[1] and for the first systematic treatment of linguistic justice.[2] He has been described as left-libertarian.


Philippe Van Parijs studied philosophy, law, political economy, sociology and linguistics at the Université Saint-Louis (Brussels), at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-La-Neuve, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Leuven, Oxford, Bielefeld and California (Berkeley). He holds doctorates in the social sciences (Louvain, 1977) and in philosophy (Oxford, 1980).[3]


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 was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University's Department of Philosophy from 2004 to 2011, and has been a Visiting Professor at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven since 2006, and a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, since 2011.

Van Parijs 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, 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.[4] He coordinates the Ethical Forum of the University Foundation. He also coordinates the Pavia Group with Kris Deschouwer and, with Paul De Grauwe, the Re-Bel 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.

Multilingual, Van Parijs speaks French, Dutch, English, Italian, German and Spanish.


Van Parijs' 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), Cultural Diversity versus Economic Solidarity (as editor, 2004), L'Allocation universelle (2005, with Y. Vanderborght), Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World (2011) and Just Democracy. The Rawls-Machiaveli Programme (2011).

Arguing About Justice: Essays for Philippe Van Parijs (Axel Gosseries & Yannick Vanderborght eds., Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2012) was published on the occasion of his 60th birthday.


In Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism?[5] (1995) he argues for both the justice and feasibility of a basic income for every citizen. Van Parijs asserts that it promotes the achievement of a real freedom to make choices. For example, he 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 linguistic justice. In order to address the injustice arising from the privilege enjoyed by English as a global lingua franca, he discusses a wide range of measures such as a language tax[6] which would be paid by English-speaking countries, a ban on the dubbing of films, and the enforcement of a linguistic territoriality principle that would protect weaker languages.[7]

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



  1. ^
  2. ^ Philippe Van Parijs, Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  3. ^ "Philippe Van Parijs", at (in English)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Philippe Van Parijs, Real Freedom for All, What (if anything) can justify capitalism: Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995
  6. ^ Philippe Van Parijs, Europe's three language problems, Multilingualism in Law and Politics
  7. ^ Philippe Van Parijs, Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  8. ^ 2nd Ailsa McKay Lecture

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