human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

CST and Amartya Sen on Justice

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The paper suggests that Sen’s “Idea of Justice” is not only the most inspiring and reasonable response to Rawls’ “Theory of Justice” but also an important challenge for Catholic Social Thought. The paper shows that Catholic Social Thought and Sen’s Idea of Justice have much in common. It argues that despite the emphasis on individual freedom in Sen’s capability approach, the convergence between his approach and Catholic Social Thought is strong. There are several points of resemblance: the role of indignation and emotion, the implications of a realistic anthropology (“seeking institutions that promote justice rather than institutions as themselves manifestations of justice”), freedom as responsibility, human rights as rooted in our shared humanity, valuing religious wisdom in justice theory.

If rationality were a church, it would be a rather broad church

Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice

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Johan Verstraeten

Director of the Centre for Catholic Social Thought
KU Leuven

faith and action