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Retreat from Liberalism: Human Capabilities and Public Reasoning


  • Rasmussen Douglas B

    (St. John’s University)

  • Den Uyl Douglas J

    (Liberty Fund)


Central to Amartya Sen's understanding and defense of political orders that promote equality is his appeal to human capabilities. However, he fails to provide a basis for their selection, weighting, and value. Moreover, the account of ethical reasoning (public reasoning") by which he does attempt to respond to basic challenges is highly problematic. It not only conflicts with a view of human flourishing that is individualized, agent-relative, and self-directed but also offers neither justification for nor principled limitation of state imposed solutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rasmussen Douglas B & Den Uyl Douglas J, 2009. "Retreat from Liberalism: Human Capabilities and Public Reasoning," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-27, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:15:y:2009:i:1:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elizabeth Anderson, 2003. "Sen, Ethics, And Democracy," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 239-261.
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