Guy Schultz, Research Fellow, The Institute for Law and Philanthropy, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel-Aviv University
"Theories of Justice and Philanthropy"
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Bio: Guy Schultz is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. His goal in his research is to apply contemporary theories of justice to philanthropy studies, thus building a bridge between the two realms. In his M.A. thesis, titled “What Legitimizes Philanthropy?” (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2015), Guy addressed an apparent incongruity at the heart of philanthropy, which is that private individuals directly fund causes that are by definition public. (Ostensibly it is the duty of the state to do so). He developed the case for philanthropy, arguing that even if states and markets could succeed in sustaining all (justly demanded) public causes, philanthropy finds support within two major conceptions of citizenship in the west, liberalism and republicanism.
Guy began his academic studies in physics and chemistry, then transitioned to philosophy, and was initially interested in philosophy of science, an area in which he began writing his MA thesis in 2006. But through his experience in grant writing at a nonprofit during that time, Guy discovered the voluntary sector and left academia, later working as a consultant and subsequently starting a business enterprise geared to algorithmically facilitating partnerships between philanthropic, business and government entities around the world. The process of trying to understand what goes into the relationship between a donor and a donee brought philosophy back to Guy’s doorstep. He went back to academia to complete the MA degree, putting the entrepreneurial aspirations on the back burner, and committing himself to research. Guy is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Law and Philanthropy at the Buchmann Faculty of Law, at Tel Aviv University, as of 2015.
Abstract: Social institutions may be just or unjust, or the concept of “justice” may be inapplicable to them. For each of these alternatives, an institution’s justness may be inherent or dependent upon circumstances. In this paper I show that philanthropy can be construed as a social institution in the Rawlsian sense. Once construed so, I argue that determining whether individual philanthropic acts are just or unjust depends, in each specific case, on the qualities of the elements of philanthropy as an institution and on the relations between them, as viewed by distinct theories. This construction presupposes that philanthropy as an institution is not inherently just by definition. I provide an explication of the “elements,” as I call them. Then, I discuss how different theories produce different answers to the question of whether a particular philanthropic act is just. I focus primarily on the distinction between ideal and nonideal theories. In the latter portion of this paper I discuss methodological difficulties in actually trying to determine whether a philanthropic act is just or unjust, when it comes to concrete historic cases.