№ 4, 2019
The issue of justice has always been given a place of pride in political philosophy and philosophy of law. Amartya Sen, an Indian scientist, has made an significant contribution to the development of this problem. His concept, which took on its final form at the end of the 20th — beginning of the 21st centuries, remains very influential today.
Sen’s innovation is that he criticized the so-called “transcendental institutionalism”, which underlies the approach to justice of many famous theorists, including John Rawls and his ardent opponent Robert Nozick. Altering the approach allowed Sen to go beyond the already-classic discussion of the nature of justice, which obviously came to a stalemate by the beginning of the 21st century. Using the original methodology, Sen created a theory of a truly global scale, claiming to solve a whole range of problems that humanity faces.
Moving away from transcendentalism, Sen assigned a key role in social development to public reasoning and the democratic process that is inextricably linked to the former. However, this turned out to be an Achilles heel of his theory. The metamorphoses of democracy in the modern world do not give grounds for optimism regarding the growth of freedom and solidarity in human society. Meanwhile, since Sen denied rigid institutional structures, his concept cannot rely on some ideal model that can set a vector and a guideline for social development. As a result, Sen’s ideas, for all their intellectual brilliance and appealing humanism, are divorced from reality and have a tinge of the very Utopianism that their author fought against.
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