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Shifting economics: fundamental questions and Amartya K. Sen’s pragmatic humanism

Tara Natarajan ()
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Tara Natarajan: Saint Michael’s College

The Journal of Philosophical Economics, 2014, vol. 8, issue 1

Abstract: Amartya K. Sen’s body of work is an unrelenting project that consistently and coherently re-focuses the attention of economists and economics towards foundational questions. His capabilities framework has offered an expanded space of evaluation to directly judge the well-being of people and society. Through a detailed survey of Sen’s intellectual development, his readdressing fundamental rigidities in economic methodology, and his new framework for evaluation, this paper argues that Sen has inculcated new habits of mind, and engendered a social momentum in economic thought that takes human complexity and the richness of societal diversity into account. Creating a social momentum in economic thought through refocused habits of mind can have a sustainable impact in economics only if its scope is not sub-discipline specific, if it provides an inclusive framework, and if it builds bridges within and outside the discipline chiefly between economics and moral philosophy. Sen’s approach is pragmatic, courteous, and persuasive, but not divisive. It is expansive, yet contextual; it is humanistic. In Sen, economics is an inquiry into the nature and causes of human development.

Keywords: capabilities approach; evaluative space; utility problematic; behavioral foundations of economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 B59 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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