The Idea of Justice

| August 27, 2010

The Idea of Justice
Author: Amartya Sen
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009
Check It Out: JC578 .S424 2009

From the Publisher: 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.

About the Author: Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, is Lamont University Professor, Harvard University.

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