A paradigm shift in theorizing about justice? A critique of Sen: Laura Valentini

Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):297-315 (2011)
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In his recent book The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen suggests that political philosophy should move beyond the dominant, Rawls-inspired, methodological paradigm – what Sen calls ‘transcendental institutionalism’ – towards a more practically oriented approach to justice: ‘realization-focused comparison’. In this article, I argue that Sen's call for a paradigm shift in thinking about justice is unwarranted. I show that his criticisms of the Rawlsian approach are either based on misunderstandings, or correct but of little consequence, and conclude that the Rawlsian approach already delivers much of what Sen himself wants from a theory of justice.
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