Ideas of Amartya Sen, by Theme

[Indian, b.1933, Professor at Harvard University]

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2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 4. Aims of Reason
What justifies reliance on reason? Is it just a tool? Why is it better than blind belief?
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
In politics and ethics, scrutiny from different perspectives is essential for objectivity
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 5. Rationality / a. Rationality
Rationality is conformity to reasons that can be sustained even after scrutiny
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 9. Contractualism
A human right is not plausible if public scrutiny might reject it
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 4. Original Position / a. Original position
The original position insures that the agreements reached are fair
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 4. Original Position / b. Veil of ignorance
The veil of ignorance encourages neutral interests, but not a wider view of values
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Social contract
A social contract limits the pursuit of justice to members of a single society
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 4. Citizenship
A person's voice may count because of their interests, or because of their good sense
24. Political Theory / C. Ruling a State / 2. Leaders / c. Despotism
Famines tend to be caused by authoritarian rule
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
Effective democracy needs tolerant values
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / b. Consultation
Democracy needs more than some institutions; diverse sections of the people must be heard
Democracy as 'government by discussion' now has wide support
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 13. Green Politics
Eradicating smallpox does not impoverish nature
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 5. Freedom of lifestyle
Capabilities are part of freedom, involving real opportunities
Freedom can involve capabilities, independence and non-interference
25. Social Practice / B. Equalities / 1. Grounds of equality
The need for equality among people arises from impartiality and objectivity
All modern theories of justice demand equality of something
25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 1. Basis of Rights
Freedom from torture or terrorist attacks is independent of citizenship
25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 1. Basis of justice
You don't need a complete theory of justice to see that slavery is wrong
If justice needs public reasoning, which needs democracy, then justice and democracy are linked
Practical justice concerns not only ideals, but ways to achieve them
Our institutions should promote justice, rather than embodying it
We must focus on removing manifest injustice, not just try to design a perfect society