The Idea of Justice

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Penguin Books Limited, Jul 1, 2010 - Philosophy - 496 pages

Is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives? In this wide-ranging book, Amartya Sen presents an alternative approach to mainstream theories of justice which, despite their many specific achievements have taken us, he argues, in the wrong direction in general.

At the heart of Sen's argument is his insistence on the role of public reason in establishing what can make societies less unjust. But it is in the nature of reasoning about justice, argues Sen, that it does not allow all questions to be settled even in theory; there are choices to be faced between alternative assessments of what is reasonable. Sen also shows how concern about the principles of justice in the modern world must avoid parochialism, and further, address questions of global injustice. The breadth of vision, intellectual acuity and striking humanity of one of the world's leading public intellectuals have never been more clearly shown than in this remarkable book.

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User Review  - r4hulk - www.librarything.com

Giving it one star for attacking Rousseau's 'social contract' theory of justice. I couldn't go past a few pages but it seems Sen considers justice unattainable through collectively willed laws, but ... Read full review

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User Review  - EmreSevinc - LibraryThing

Before I bought the book I thought that some parts of it could be a difficult read for someone who is not well versed in political theory, philosophy of justice and social choice theory ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Amartya Sen is one of the world's leading public intellectuals. He is Professor of Economics and Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1998 to 2004, and won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998. His many celebrated books include Development as Freedom (1999), The Argumentative Indian (2005) and The Idea of Justice (2010). They have been translated into more than 30 languages.

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