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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 Senrs"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 Senrs"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, noshy;-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.
Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University. His many books include Rationality and Freedom (Harvard).
Table of Contents
|Introduction An Approach to Justice||p. 1|
|The Demands of Justice|
|Reason and Objectivity||p. 31|
|Rawls and Beyond||p. 52|
|Institutions and Persons||p. 75|
|Voice and Social Choice||p. 87|
|Impartiality and Objectivity||p. 114|
|Closed and Open Impartiality||p. 124|
|Forms of Reasoning|
|Position, Relevance and Illusion||p. 155|
|Rationality and Other People||p. 174|
|Plurality of Impartial Reasons||p. 194|
|Realizations, Consequences and Agency||p. 208|
|The Materials of Justice|
|Lives, Freedoms and Capabilities||p. 225|
|Capabilities and Resources||p. 253|
|Happiness, Well-being and Capabilities||p. 269|
|Equality and Liberty||p. 291|
|Public Reasoning and Democracy|
|Democracy as Public Reason||p. 321|
|The Practice of Democracy||p. 338|
|Human Rights and Global Imperatives||p. 355|
|Justice and the World||p. 388|
|Name Index||p. 451|
|Subject Index||p. 462|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|