- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Allen Lane; Reprint edition (30 July 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846141478
- ISBN-13: 978-1846141478
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.3 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 473,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Idea of Justice Hardcover – 30 Jul 2009
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Few contemporary thinkers have had as much direct impact on world affairs as Amartya Sen. This wonderfully lucid presentation of his approach to justice will be an invaluable compass -- Philippe Van Parijs, Professor of Economic and Social Ethics, Louvain
I believe that Amartya Sen's THE IDEA OF JUSTICE is the most important contribution to the subject since John Rawls's A THEORY OF JUSTICE appeared in 1971 -- Hilary Putnam, Professor Emeritus in Philosophy, Harvard
In lucid and vigorous prose, THE IDEA OF JUSTICE gives us a political philosophy that is dedicated to the reduction of injustice on Earth -- G.A. Cohen, Professor of Social and Political Theory Emeritus, Oxford
Sen is one of the great thinkers of our era ... if a public intellectual is defined by his or her capacity to bridge the worlds of pure ideas and the most far-reaching policies, Sen has few rivals -- The Times, July 4th 2009, David Aaronovitch
I believe that Amartya Sen's THE IDEA OF JUSTICE is the most important contribution to the subject since John Rawls's A THEORY OF JUSTICE appeared in 1971See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Although ostensibly an economist, Sen has won the Nobel Prize, his style is very broad both in the disciplines which he covers but also in his breadth of sources notably drawing on Eastern writings which are more than often overlooked in Western writings particularly on economics, philosophy and law.
His work, which I have never read any of, mainly deals in social choice theory which looks at the economics underpinning human behavior and the choices people make. Sen seeks to counter the presumption, which is fairly prevalent in capitalist thinking, that faced with a choice people always look after their own interests in a selfish way. Indeed, as he points out, choice theory has become synonymous with this.
This work is partially an attempt to integrate his work in this field into the area of legal theory. Indeed it also works as a comprehensive summary of all of his work to this date with a substantial and impressive referencing system and bibliography as part of the work.
The sweep of the work is one of its most impressive features from discussing the nature of freedom, to exploring the economic and political roots of famines to dissecting the writing of proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. You get a real sense of the breadth and depth of Sen's knowledge but also of his enthusiasm for all aspects of learning and knowledge. I would add though that some of the roots of the weaker elements of the work lie here as well.Read more ›
This is a book by an academic for academics, not for interested lay readers. I think someone else will come along and write an accessible coverage of Sen's work which will be much more readable.
(Sorry for not covering the content of the book, but other reviewers have done that.)
Had he stated this single idea and single example clearly once and then proceeded to analyse each thoroughly we might have a more succinct book on justice. Instead the text is repetitive and long, and strays into vast themes with weak linkage to justice. Sen is ever keen to tell us who he knows - there are 9 pages of acknowledgements which include a vast panoply of the intellectual great and good. He frequently name drops his friendship and/or working relationship with everyone from Isaiah Berlin to W V Quine. There are long sections on welfare economics, rational decision making and happiness which are Sen's Nobel Prize specialisms but are of vague if any connectivity to his theme of justice.Read more ›
It would assist his view, with which I concur, that just outcomes are more likley after wide public scrutiny of ideas, if the book was more publicly accessible. He spends too long countering a wide variety of other philosophers' ideas, rather than in seeking to illustrate how the application of his own theories would lead to different actual practical recommendations.
He is rightly critical of approaches that rely on a perfect 'transcendental' idea of just institutions and says we need to focus on actual outcomes. To me the book is at its best when he uses real examples of dilemnas. How much more powerful would it be to set out examples of many more real ethical dilemnas and suggest how the recommendations he believes would emerge from his approaches would differ from competing theories of justice.
Overall, it comes across as a long theoretical discussion of topics related to justice rather than a coherent theory in its own right.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a famous book like the others of Amartya Sen.
When a book is written by Amartya Sen, it does not require any comments. Read more
Some interesting and important points made here, I found a pleasing contrast by also reading 'Freedom from the Known' by Jiddu Krishnamurti.Published on 6 Mar. 2015 by davidS
There is a lot of breadth to the actual knowledge on display in the book. This is, ironically, the book's greatest weakness since the knowledge is rarely explicitly linked back to... Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2013 by Dave
'I believe that Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice is the most important contribution to the subject since John Rawls' A Theory of Justice' - Hilary Putnam. Read morePublished on 9 Sept. 2011 by G-man
Sen seeks to develop an alternative theory of justice based on "comparative justice". An extremely poor book and quite disappointing in many respects. Read morePublished on 24 Dec. 2010 by Chola Mukanga
Yes it is quite repetitive, Sen really wants you to actually understand his ideas, so repeats his key messages quite a lot. Perhaps too often. Read morePublished on 17 Sept. 2010 by J. PORTER
I have not yet finished reading the book.However, I can say without any hesitation that it is the most informative and intellectual book on the subject of justice I have come... Read morePublished on 16 Aug. 2010 by Mr. Pashupati Mittal
Excellent book. Sen has a very wide view of philosophy that, with his illustrations from Asian history, should help we Westerners feel less smug about our superiority in the field... Read morePublished on 30 July 2010 by WF