a1 ESADE Law School, Ramon Llull University
a2 Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
a3 Law Center, Georgetown University and University of California, Irvine Law School
a4 Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
a5 Department of Business Law, Sao Paulo University
The Idea of Justice is one of those books that – whether we agree with its ultimate conclusions or not – will be virtually impossible to ignore. And for good reason: it takes on one of the great political philosophers of our time, John Rawls, and deepens, enriches and challenges some basic Rawlsian ideas. Sen's basic argument is that the Rawlsian approach to justice, which has profoundly influenced the development of contemporary political theory since the publication of A Theory of Justice in 1971, is so focused on ideal, transcendentally just institutions that it is unable to offer practical guidance for advancing justice in an increasingly borderless world. Sen's ambitious critique of Rawls takes him on a winding but engaging path, through political and moral philosophy, economics, history and law. Along the way, he challenges mainstream economic theories of rationality, explores deontological and consequentialist ethics through the lens of classical Indian thought, articulates and defends an understanding of freedom in terms of capability, and rethinks the relationship between development, agency and democracy in a global context.