Amartya Sen’s Theory of Justice and the Idea of Social Justice in Antonio Rosmini

Carlos Hoevel


In this paper the author proposes to reflect on some aspects of the book The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen, in the light of the work of the Catholic Italian philosopher Antonio Rosmini, one of the first thinkers to use the term “social justice” during the nineteenth century. In the first place, the author shows the similarities between Sen and Rosmini on the importance of reason in the analysis of social justice against purely emotional and pragmatic proposals. Secondly, he proposes a comparison between the analysis developed by Sen and Rosmini on transcendental theories of justice and structural changes in order to reach a just society. Thirdly, the paper intends to show how the choice for the people and their capabilities taken by Sen can be enlightened and deepened from the perspective of Rosmini’s personalist theory of capabilities. Forthly, he describes the cognitive turn proposed both by Sen and Rosmini for institutions and public policies. Finally, the author enounces some objections that could be made to the pose suggested in the paper, along with some final comments about them.

Parole chiave

social justice; capabilities; cognitive turn

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