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An analysis of Rawls’s and Sen’s concepts of freedom

Herrade Igersheim ()

Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, 2013, issue 64, 157-196

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine the concepts of freedom used by John Rawls and Amartya Sen in the light of two well-known pairs of freedom: the pair freedom of the ancients/freedom of the moderns defined by Constant and the pair negative freedom/positive freedom defined by Berlin. After a reminder of the seminal texts of both pairs, we will show that even if Rawls’s justice as fairness is mainly based on the pair freedom of the ancients/freedom of the moderns, it deals as well with the effectivity of basic freedoms and so with the pair negative freedom/ positive freedom. Similarly, Sen’s works which are principaly focused on the pair negative freedom/positive freedom have close ties with the pair freedom of the ancients/freedom of the moderns – especially in his lastest works which stress the importance of democracy. Finally, this analysis will allow us to investigate Sen’s recent dichotomy between the trascendental and the comparative traditions.

Keywords: freedom; Constant; Berlin; Rawls; Sen (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B21 B4 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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