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The Idea of Justice

The idea of justice is central to many debates on both domestic and international law. In the third part of the spring 2010 Chicago and the World Forum Series, Amartya Sen proposes a new theory of justice, based not upon abstract ideals or notions of what perfect institutions and rules might be, but upon what the results and implications of a system are practically, in the world. He will highlight the importance of public reasoning and argue that a system of justice should require the agreement not just of the community which is making laws, but of outsiders who might be affected, or who might have valuable perspectives to offer.

Amartya Sen is the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, and was until recently the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has served as president of the Econometric Society, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association, and the International Economic Association. He was formerly honorary president of OXFAM, and is now its honorary advisor. Sen's books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He was Lamont University Professor at Harvard for the first time from 1988–1998, prior to which he was the Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University, and a Fellow of All Souls College. Among the many awards he has received are the “Bharat Ratna” (the highest honor awarded by the President of India); the Eisenhower Medal; Honorary Companion of Honor (U.K.); The George E. Marshall Award; and the Nobel Prize in Economics. He studied at Presidency College in Calcutta, India, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. His latest book, The Idea of Justice, will be available for purchase and signing following the program.

Support for the Chicago and the World Forum series each year is provided by the McCormick Foundation.


Recorded Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago.

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