SPIRe is pleased to welcome Dr. Daniel Butt of the University of Bristol to present on his project “Defending the Beneficiary Pays Principle” in week 3 of the SPIRe seminar series. Dr. Butt’s seminar will be from 12:00-13:00 in G316 Newman (Arts) Building UCD Belfield. All are welcome.
The purpose of this article is to explore the ethical architecture of the “beneficiary pays” principle, which has been invoked in a range of real world political contexts, and which holds that agents can come to possess remedial obligations to others through the involuntary receipt of benefits stemming from wrongdoing. The principle faces two challenges: that of persuading those unmoved by its normative force; and that of seeking to explain in which circumstances of benefiting from wrongdoing it does and does not give rise to compensatory obligations. The article both puts forward a normative argument for this principle and considers ways in which advocates of the principle might seek to win over those sceptical of its merits, before considering the question of whether the argument can be expanded from cases of benefiting from wrongdoing specifically to other sorts of situation where one agent involuntarily benefits from another’s loss.