Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya SenVolume I: Ethics, Welfare, and Measurement$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Justice as Fairness and the Capability Approach *

Justice as Fairness and the Capability Approach *

(p.397) Chapter 21 Justice as Fairness and the Capability Approach*
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen

Ingrid Robeyns

Oxford University Press

This chapter reconsiders the differences between Amartya Sen's capability approach and John Rawls's justice as fairness approach. Sen's most important critique on Rawlsian justice concerns the inflexibility of social primary goods as the metric of justice. Rawls has argued that this critique implies that the capability approach endorses a comprehensive moral doctrine. In addition, Rawls has criticized the capability approach for failing to provide a workable and public conception of political justice. It is argued that the different kinds of theory that Rawls and Sen are pursuing explain much of their disagreement. Moreover, for a full comparison each theory needs to be further developed: the capability approach requires further theoretical elaboration as a theory of justice, while justice as fairness has to be developed for non-ideal circumstances. This reinterpretation of the Rawls–Sen debate allows for an understanding of the capability approach and justice as fairness as complementary and potentially converging theories.

Keywords:   Amartya Sen, John Rawls, capabilities, capability approach, justice, justice as fairness, social primary goods

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .