Rationality and freedom are among the most profound and contentious concepts in philosophy and the social sciences. In two volumes on rationality, freedom, and justice, the distinguished economist and philosopher Amartya Sen brings clarity and insight to these difficult issues. This volume--the first of the two--is principally concerned with rationality and freedom.
Sen scrutinizes and departs from the standard criteria of rationality, and shows how it can be seen in terms of subjecting one's values as well as choices to the demands of reason and critical scrutiny. This capacious approach is utilized to illuminate the demands of rationality in individual choice (including decisions under uncertainty) as well as social choice (including cost benefit analysis and environmental assessment).
Identifying a reciprocity in the relationship between rationality and freedom, Sen argues that freedom cannot be assessed independently of a person's reasoned preferences and valuations, just as rationality, in turn, requires freedom of thought. Sen uses the discipline of social choice theory (a subject he has helped to develop) to illuminate the demands of reason and the assessment of freedom. The latter is the subject matter of Sen's previously unpublished Arrow Lectures included here.
The essays in these volumes contribute to Sen's ongoing transformation of economic theory and social philosophy, and to our understanding of the connections among rationality, freedom, and social justice.
Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University.
Preface Part I General Introductions 1. Introduction: Rationality and Freedom 2. The Possibility of Social Choice Part II Rationality: Form and Substance 3. Internal Consistency of Choice 4. Maximization and the Act of Choice 5. Goals, Commitment, and Identity 6. Rationality and Uncertainty 7. Non-Binary Choice and Preference Part III Rationality and Social Choice 8. Rationality and Social Choice 9. Individual Preference as the Basis of Social Choice 10. Social Choice and Justice 11. Information and Invariance in Normative Choice Part IV Liberty and Social Choice 12. Liberty and Social Choice 13. Minimal Liberty 14. Rights: Formulation and Consequences Part V Perspectives and Policies 15. Positional Objectivity 16. On the Darwinian View of Progress 17. Markets and Freedoms 18. Environmental Evaluation and Social Choice 19. The Discipline of Cost-Benefit Analysis Part VI Freedom and Social Choice: The Arrow Lectures Introductory Remarks 20. Opportunities and Freedoms 21. Processes, Liberty and Rights 22. Freedom and the Evaluation of Opportunity Name Index Subject Index