11th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Parr

Thomas Parr

On the Unfairness of Benefiting from Injustice

In this paper I articulate and defend a duty not to benefit from injustice. This duty imposes upon beneficiaries of injustice a duty to disgorge the fruits of injustice to the least advantaged. The position I defend is more radical than the alternative position defended by Daniel Butt, which asserts that beneficiaries of injustice are only under a duty to compensate injustice’s victims. The position I defend is more attractive that Butt’s for two reasons. First, it yields intuitively appealing results in a range of cases that are more difficult for Butt’s position, namely those where the victims of injustice have already received adequate compensation. Secondly, the duty sanctions the advantaging specifically of the least advantaged, rather than of a larger group who may or may not be disadvantaged in absolute terms. This is most evident in the case of educational injustice: whereas Butt believes that the beneficiaries of educational injustice (i.e. many of those privately educated) are under to compensate all victims of educational injustice (i.e. all those educated comprehensively), I show why they are, in fact, under a duty to advantage specifically the least advantaged.