Introduction Sen and Law (Editors’ Introduction)
Chapter IN: Amartya Sen and Law: Philosophers and Law, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Victor V. Ramraj, Supriya Routh and Arun Thiruvengadam, editors (Routledge, Taylor Francis Group, London and New York, 2020)
38 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 21, 2020
This is the introductory substantive essay for the book, Amartya Sen and Law, the Law and Philosophers series, which collects essays by scholars writing about Amartya Sen’s contributions to law and legal studies. Although Amartya Sen is primarily known as a Nobel Prize winning economist (and social philosopher), his writings, including The Idea of Justice, have enormous implications for jurisprudence, law, constitutional studies, development economics, labor relations, inequality studies, human rights, gender justice, and deliberative democracy, thus making his work theoretically and practically significant for legal theorists, constitutional scholars, and political scientists. This essay reviews Sen’s contributions to the fields of jurisprudence (his critiques of Rawls and Dworkin’s ideal or “transcendent universalism and institutionalism,” as contrasted to his own more pluralistic notions of justice and capability, rather than utilitarian, analysis), constitutional analysis (“relative” rather than “perfect” institutional arrangements), deliberative democracy (a search for a plethora of reasons that can be evaluated comparatively for decision making), human rights (ethical as opposed to specifically legal claims), labor relations and social security, gender justice, international law, intergenerational justice, and law and development. In addition, Sen’s contributions to a “de-centering” of Western theory and experience in the development of important political, social, legal, economic and mathematical analysis is also noted. Sen’s significant contributions to human development measures for the UN and India in particular are reviewed. The edited volume presents significant scholarship, from a variety of fields, that deeply explore and also take issue with or criticize aspects of Sen’s opus of work.
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