Working Paper BETA #2017-20

Download working-paper

Title : The Norm of Equality in Amartya Sen’s Idea of Justice: From “Equality of What?” to “Why Equality?”

Author(s) : Cyrielle Poiraud

Abstract : This paper focuses on Amartya Sen’s conception of equality regarding modern theories of justice. Starting from a question he considers crucial in this context, “Equality of what?”, which involves a conception of equality in terms of “space”, we move to the importance of a related issue: “Why equality?”, which refers to a more general idea of equality, implicit in Sen’s work. The paper sheds light on this distinction and more precisely on the second acceptation of equality, deeply connected to the impartiality requirement of justice. Furthermore, Sen’s account of impartiality reveals the relevance of the transcendental approach for his own idea of justice, although he rejects it in favour of the comparative one.

Key-words : Equality, Amartya Sen, Normative theories, Impartiality, Justice

JEL Classification : A13, D63