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Catholic Social Thought and Amartya Sen on Justice

Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC,volume 1)


The paper suggests that Sen’s “Idea of Justice” is not only the most inspiring and reasonable response to Rawls ’ “Theory of Justice” but also an important challenge for Catholic Social Thought. The paper shows that Catholic Social Thought and Sen’s Idea of Justice have much in common. It argues that despite the emphasis on individual freedom in Sen’s capability approach, the convergence between his approach and Catholic Social Thought is strong. There are several points of resemblance: the role of indignation and emotion, the implications of a realistic anthropology (“seeking institutions that promote justice rather than institutions as themselves manifestations of justice”), freedom as responsibility, human rights as rooted in our shared humanity, valuing religious wisdom in justice theory.

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    For a definition of the distinction between Catholic social doctrine, Catholic social teaching and ‘Catholic social thought’ see: Verstraeten 2000.

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Correspondence to Johan Verstraeten .

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Verstraeten, J. (2017). Catholic Social Thought and Amartya Sen on Justice. In: Rona, P., Zsolnai, L. (eds) Economics as a Moral Science. Virtues and Economics, vol 1. Springer, Cham.

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