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Saturday, 15 May 2010

Book Reading Goal : Week 15

The Idea of JusticeThis week I turned my attention to two books on justice.

The first was The Idea of Justice, by Amartya Sen. The author seeks to develop an alternative theory of justice based on "comparative justice". An extremely poor book and quite disappointing in many respects. Sen is a brilliant economist, but philosopher he is certainly not. Not only does the book simply rehash his old material, but there's no proper grounding of justice. To be fair Sen's view is that we don't need to have a theory of justice, what we need is be able to compare existing or different conceptions of justice. But clearly if we have no grounding for justice, who is to say what we end up with is justice? The book is also poorly crafted! It is quite repetitive and Sen's thoughts appear scattered and incoherent.

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?The second  book was Justice : What's Right Thing to Do? by Michael J Sandel. This is the first book I have read by Sandel though he has written on these matters before. The book is essentially an illustrative survey of the various conception of justice. It is a sort of a pop version of a more detailed review. Quite useful for those new to the topic of justice. However, for readers who are interested in justice issues at a deeper level, I would strongly advise to read the best book on the subject by the best moral philosopher of our time - Justice : Rights and Wrongsby Nicholas Wolterstorff. Its an incredible piece of writing, though the 400 pages may scare some. As I said, only for the committed reader! The difference between Wolterstorff and Sen is like light and darkness on these matters, both in presentation and clarity of thought.

Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 18 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 32 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 33 weeks

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