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On Amartya Sen and 'The idea of justice'

Brown, Chris ORCID: 0000-0003-3478-7246 (2010) On Amartya Sen and 'The idea of justice'. Ethics and International Affairs, 24 (3). pp. 309-318. ISSN 0892-6794

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1747-7093.2010.00269.x


The Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, born in 1933, is one of the most important public intellectuals of our age, an original thinker whose work transcends the standard disciplinary boundaries. His 1998 Nobel Prize was awarded for his work in welfare economics, but to describe him as an ‘‘economist’’ (as the term is understood today) would be inaccurate. Better would be ‘‘social philosopher,’’ or, better still, the old term ‘‘political economist,’’ since the scope and range of Sen’s work is directly comparable to that of such eighteenth- and nineteenth-century practitioners of political economy as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx. Indeed, Marx and especially Smith are key reference points for Sen, although it is Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments rather than his Wealth of Nations to which Sen refers most often, and similarly it is Marx’s more explicitly philosophical works rather than Capital that appeal to him.1 In the course of a stellar academic career, Sen has published more than two dozen books and countless articles. He taught at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, while on leave from writing his Ph.D. at Cambridge University and went on to teach at the Delhi School of Economics, Oxford, the London School of Economics, and Harvard before being elected Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1998. In 2004 he returned to Harvard as Lamont University Professor, Professor of Economics and Philosophy. The combining of these two disciplines in the title of his chair speaks volumes...

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2011 13:50
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2024 03:18

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