The Idea of Justice

The Idea of Justice

by Amartya Sen
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674060474

ISBN-13: 9780674060470

Pub. Date: 05/05/2011

Publisher: Harvard

Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how—and how well—people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social

Overview

Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how—and how well—people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind.

The transcendental theory of justice, the subject of Sen’s analysis, flourished in the Enlightenment and has proponents among some of the most distinguished philosophers of our day; it is concerned with identifying perfectly just social arrangements, defining the nature of the perfectly just society. The approach Sen favors, on the other hand, focuses on the comparative judgments of what is “more” or “less” just, and on the comparative merits of the different societies that actually emerge from certain institutions and social interactions.

At the heart of Sen’s argument is a respect for reasoned differences in our understanding of what a “just society” really is. People of different persuasions—for example, utilitarians, economic egalitarians, labor right theorists, no­-nonsense libertarians—might each reasonably see a clear and straightforward resolution to questions of justice; and yet, these clear and straightforward resolutions would be completely different. In light of this, Sen argues for a comparative perspective on justice that can guide us in the choice between alternatives that we inevitably face.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674060470
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
05/05/2011
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
543,412
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: An Approach to Justice
  • Part I: The Demands of Justice

    • 1. Reason and Objectivity
    • 2. Rawls and Beyond
    • 3. Institutions and Persons
    • 4. Voice and Social Choice
    • 5. Impartiality and Objectivity
    • 6. Closed and Open Impartiality


  • Part II: Forms of Reasoning

    • 7. Position, Relevance and Illusion
    • 8. Rationality and Other People
    • 9. Plurality of Impartial Reasons
    • 10. Realizations, Consequences and Agency


  • Part III: The Materials of Justice

    • 11. Lives, Freedoms and Capabilities
    • 12. Capabilities and Resources
    • 13. Happiness, Well-being and Capabilities
    • 14. Equality and Liberty


  • Part IV: Public Reasoning and Democracy

    • 15. Democracy as Public Reason
    • 16. The Practice of Democracy
    • 17. Human Rights and Global Imperatives
    • 18. Justice and the World


  • Notes
  • Name Index
  • Subject Index

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