IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Rawls’ influence and counter-influence on Sen: post-welfarism and impartiality

Listed author(s):
  • Muriel Gilardone

    (University of Caen Basse-Normandie, France - CREM-CNRS)

Rawls has been a constant reference for Sen both to overcome welfarism and consider impartiality. In this paper, we’ll try to identify Sen’s paradoxical relationship to Rawls’ work that has evolved with time. The dialogue between both authors emerged in the late sixties, while Sen was working on a constructive social choice theory. Sen greatly benefited from Rawls’ insight as his proposition for a “weak equity axiom” (Sen, 1973) attests, inspired by Rawls’ difference principle. Sen then developed an important critics of what he calls welfarism, partly induced by Rawls too. In the eighties, Sen came up with a capability approach centered on individual life potentialities, rather than utility or primary goods. While it has often been perceived as a mere extension of Rawls’ theory of justice, it has to be acknowledged that Sen developed a strong critics of Rawls’ view of impartiality that led him toward a concept of “trans-positional objectivity” as a better basis for social judgments. The Idea of justice gives a final and decisive inflexion to his position vis-à-vis Rawls: not only Sen (2009) disagrees with Rawls’ view of impartiality, but he refuses the social contract perspective to provide an underpinning for a theory of justice.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS in its series Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) with number 201104.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2011
Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201104
Contact details of provider: Postal:
CREM (UMR CNRS 6211) – Faculty of Economics, 7 place Hoche, 35065 RENNES Cedex

Phone: 02 23 23 35 47
Fax: (33) 2 23 23 35 99
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: CREM (UMR CNRS 6211) - Faculty of Economics, 7 place Hoche, 35065 Rennes Cedex - France

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Maurice Salles, 2005. "Social Choice," Post-Print halshs-00337075, HAL.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201104. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CODA-POIREY Hélène)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.