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Amartya Sen

Lawrence Hamilton

ISBN: 978-1-509-51984-2 June 2019 Polity 240 Pages


Amartya Sen is one of the world’s best-known voices for the poor, the destitute and the downtrodden and an inspiration for policy makers and activists across the globe. He has also contributed almost without peer to the study of economics, philosophy and politics, transforming social choice theory, development economics, ethics, political philosophy and Indian political economy, to list but a few.

This book offers a much-needed introduction to Amartya Sen’s extraordinary variety of ideas. Lawrence Hamilton provides an excellent, accessible guide to the full range of Sen’s writings, contextualizing his ideas and summarizing the associated debates. In elegant prose, Hamilton reconstructs Sen’s critiques of the major philosophies of his time, assesses his now famous concern for capabilities as an alternative for thinking about poverty, inequality, gender discrimination, development, democracy and justice, and unearths some overlooked gems. Throughout, these major theoretical and philosophical achievements are subjected to rigorous scrutiny.

Amartya Sen is a major work on one of the most influential economists and philosophers of the last couple of centuries. It will be invaluable to students and scholars across the humanities and social sciences and an excellent guide for policy makers, legislators and global activists.

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Key Texts
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Choice
  • Chapter 2: Capability
  • Chapter 3: Freedom
  • Chapter 4: Justice
  • Chapter 5: Democracy
  • Conclusion
  • Further Reading
  • Bibliography
  • Index

‘Amartya Sen’s monumental work has created new foundations for research, policy and action in a wide range of fields. This concise, lucid and lively book will be of immense value to anyone interested in Sen’s essential ideas.’
Jean Drèze, Delhi School of Economics

‘This is a real tour de force examination of key ideas championed by Amartya Sen. Well written and insightful, it’s a perfect introduction to one of the world’s greatest minds.’
Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government and Dean of Durham Law School, Durham University