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Rationality & Freedom

Rationality and Freedom
by Amartya Sen

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 The latter is the subject matter of Sen’s previously unpublished Arrow Lectures included here.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.


Rationality and freedom
by Amartya Kumar Sen

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.


Faith, Freedom, and Rationality
by Jeff Jordan, Daniel Howard-Snyder

The philosophy of religion, once considered a deviation from an otherwise analytically rigorous discipline, has flourished over the past two decades. This collection of new essays by twelve distinguished philosophers of religion explores three broad themes: religious attitudes of belief, acceptance, and love; human and divine freedom; and the rationality of religious belief.

Liberty, Rationality, and Agency in Hobbes’s Leviathan
by David van Mill

Marking a significant departure from most scholarship on Hobbes, this book offers new interpretations of his theories of freedom, agency, rationality, morality, psychology, and politics. Hobbes’s arguments concerning many different aspects of civil society and human psychology are brought together to provide a comprehensive theory of agency. Hobbes’s theory of freedom is demonstrated to be considerably more complicated than previously thought, revealing a concern with both “internal” and “external” conditions of action. On close examination Hobbes can be seen to move beyond his limited definition of negative liberty and to champion autonomous rational action. Throughout, the book evaluates the relevance of this reformulation for contemporary debates in political philosophy.

Rationality in Action
by John R. Searle

The study of rationality and practical reason, or rationality in action, has been central to Western intellectual culture. In this invigorating book, John Searle lays out six claims of what he calls the Classical Model of rationality and shows why they are false. He then presents an alternative theory of the role of rationality in thought and action.

A central point of Searle’s theory is that only irrational actions are directly caused by beliefs and desires—for example, the actions of a person in the grip of an obsession or addiction. In most cases of rational action, there is a gap between the motivating desire and the actual decision making. The traditional name for this gap is “freedom of the will.” According to Searle, all rational activity presupposes free will. For rationality is possible only where one has a choice among various rational as well as irrational options.

Unlike many philosophical tracts, Rationality in Action invites the reader to apply the author’s ideas to everyday life. Searle shows, for example, that contrary to the traditional philosophical view, weakness of will is very common. He also points out the absurdity of the claim that rational decision making always starts from a consistent set of desires. Rational decision making, he argues, is often about choosing between conflicting reasons for action. In fact, humans are distinguished by their ability to be rationally motivated by desire-independent reasons for action. Extending his theory of rationality to the self, Searle shows how rational deliberation presupposes an irreducible notion of the self. He also reveals the idea of free will to be essentially a thesis of how the brain works.


Rationality, Control, and Freedom
by Curran F. Douglass

The subject of this book is the controversy—one of the oldest in philosophy—about whether it is possible to have freedom in the face of universal causal determinism. Of course, it is crucial to consider what such freedom might mean—in particular, there is an important distinction between libertarian “free will” and the more naturalistic view of freedom taken by compatibilists.

This book provides background for laypersons through a historical survey of earlier views and some discussion and criticism of various contemporary views. In particular, it states and discusses the Consequence Argument, the most important argument challenging human freedom in recent literature. The main feature of the book is the argument for a solution: one that is within the compatibilist tradition, is naturalistic and in accord with findings of science and principles of engineering control theory. Some particular features of the offered solution include an argument for a close tie between freedom and control—where what is meant is the voluntary motion control of our bodies, and this “control” is understood naturalistically, by which the author means in accordance with concepts of engineering control theory and modern science. Such concepts are used to explain and demarcate the concept of “control” being used. Then it develops a working conception of what rationality is (since what is crucial is freedom in choice, and rationality is crucial to that), by reviewing texts on the subject by three expert authors (namely, Nathanson, Nozick, and Searle). It is argued that rationality is a species of biological learning control that involves deliberation; and that our freedom in choice is greatest when our choices are most rational.


Freedom and Reason
by R. M. Hare

Proceeds in a logical fashion to show how, when thinking morally, a man can be both free and rational.

Freedom and Rationality
by F. D’Agostino, Ian Jarvie

x philosophy when he inaugurated a debate about the principle of methodologi cal individualism, a debate which continues to this day, and which has inspired a literature as great as any in contemporary philosophy. Few collections of material in the general area of philosophy of social science would be considered complete unless they contained at least one of Watkins’s many contributions to the discussion of this issue. In 1957 Watkins published the flrst of a series of three papers (1957b, 1958d and 196Oa) in which he tried to codify and rehabilitate metaphysics within the Popperian philosophy, placing it somewhere between the analytic and the empirical. He thus signalled the emergence of an important implica tion of Popper’s thought that had not to that point been stressed by Sir Karl himself, and which marked off his followers from the antimetaphysical ideas of the regnant logical positivists. In 1965 years of work in political philosophy and in the history of philosophy in the seventeenth century were brought to fruition in Watkins’s widely cited and admired Hobbes’s System of Ideas (1965a, second edition 1973d). This book is an important contribution not just to our understanding of Hobbes’s political thinking, but, perhaps more importantly, to our understanding of the way in which a system of ideas is constituted and applied. Watkins built on earlier work in developing an account of Hobbes’s ideas in which was revealed and clarifled the unity of Hobbes’s metaphysical, epistemological and political ideas.

Understanding German Idealism
by Will Dudley

“Understanding German Idealism” provides an accessible introduction to the philosophical movement that emerged in 1781, with the publication of Kant’s monumental “Critique of Pure Reason”, and ended fifty years later, with Hegel’s death. The thinkers of this period, and the themes they developed revolutionized almost every area of philosophy and had an impact that continues to be felt across the humanities and social sciences today. Notoriously complex, the central texts of German Idealism have confounded the most capable and patient interpreters for more than 200 years. “Understanding German Idealism” aims to convey the significance of this philosophical movement while avoiding its obscurity. Readers are given a clear understanding of the problems that motivated Kant, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel and the solutions that they proposed. Dudley outlines the main ideas of transcendental idealism and explores how the later German Idealists attempted to carry out the Kantian project more rigorously than Kant himself, striving to develop a fully self-critical and rational philosophy, in order to determine the meaning and sustain the possibility of a free and rational modern life. The book examines some of the most important early criticisms of German Idealism and the philosophical alternatives to which they led, including romanticism, Marxism, existentialism, and naturalism.

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Identity & Violence

Identity and Violence
by Amartya Sen

Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or ‘cultures’ or ‘civilizations’), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violencehe overturns such stereotypes as the ‘the monolithic Middle East’ or ‘the Western Mind’. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.

Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (Issues of Our Time)
by Amartya Sen

“One of the few world intellectuals on whom we may rely to make sense out of our existential confusion.”—Nadine Gordimer

In this sweeping philosophical work, Amartya Sen proposes that the murderous violence that has riven our society is driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred. Challenging the reductionist division of people by race, religion, and class, Sen presents an inspiring vision of a world that can be made to move toward peace as firmly as it has spiraled in recent years toward brutality and war.


Identity and Violence
by Amartya Sen

The world may be more riven by murderous violence than ever before, yet Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues in this sweeping philosophical work that its brutalities are driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred.

Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or ‘cultures’ or ‘civilizations’), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violence he overturns such stereotypes as the ‘the monolithic Middle East’ or ‘the Western Mind’. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.


Identity, Violence and Power
by Guy Elcheroth, Stephen Reicher

This book provides a systematic examination of the re-patterning of collective identities through violence and the role of power politics in such critical transitions. The authors show how identity is created through shared social practices and how it is transformed when collective violence disrupts common practices. Three case studies show how this model sheds new light on the dynamics of religious violence in parts of India, on ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia, as well as on anti-war protest in the UK in reaction to the military invasion of Iraq.

The book explores an alternative way of looking at conflict, and dissects the policies and processes that bring specific identities to the fore, taking seriously the capacity to resist and face abusive authority.

Identity, Violence and Power will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, social psychology, history, political science and conflict studies.


Violence, Identity, and Self-determination
by Hent de Vries

With the collapse of the bipolar system of global rivalry that dominated world politics after the Second World War, and in an age that is seeing the return of "ethnic cleansing" and "identity politics, " the question of violence, in all of its multiple ramifications, imposes itself with renewed urgency. Rather than concentrating on the socioeconomic or political backgrounds of these historical changes, the contributors to this volume rethink the concept of violence, both in itself and in relation to the formation and transformation of identities, whether individual or collective, political or cultural, religious or secular. In particular, they subject the notion of self-determination to stringent scrutiny: is it to be understood as a value that excludes violence, in principle if not always in practice? Or is its relation to violence more complex and, perhaps, more sinister? The eighteen contributors address the concept of violence from a variety of perspectives in relation to different forms of cultural representation, and not in Western culture alone, in literature and the arts, as well as in society and politics; in philosophical discourse, psychoanalytic theory, and so-called juridical ideology, as well as in colonial and post-colonial practices and power relations.

The State, Identity and Violence
by R. Brian Ferguson

In this book, a collection of experts investigate the varied forces – from global systems to local beliefs – that lead to civil violence, chaos and, perhaps, a new political order.
The State, Identity and Violence explores acts of mass violence occurring within national borders and examines the links such acts have to personal identities and how they challenge the character or very existence of the state. Building upon the anthropological premises of holism and cross-cultural comparison, this volume shows how violent challenges to existing states should be conceptualized as layered problems, with multiple kinds of causes. It not only goes beyond the “ancient hatreds” explanation, but shows the inadequacy of the concept of “ethnic violence” and of theories which treat interests and identities as separate, sometimes opposed variables

National Deconstruction
by David Campbell

How did Bosnia, once a polity of intersecting and overlapping identities, come to be understood as an intractable ethnic problem? David Campbell pursues this question — and its implications for the politics of community, democracy, justice, and multiculturalism — through readings of media and academic representations of the conflict in Bosnia. National Deconstruction is a rethinking of the meaning of “ethnic/nationalist” violence and a critique of the impoverished discourse of identity politics that crippled the international response to the Bosnian crisis.

Rather than assuming the preexistence of an entity called Bosnia, Campbell considers the complex array of historical, statistical, cartographic, and other practices through which the definitions of Bosnia have come to be. These practices traverse a continuum of political spaces, from the bodies of individuals and the corporate body of the former Yugoslavia to the international bodies of the world community.

Among the book’s many original disclosures, arrived at through a critical reading of international diplomacy, is the shared identity politics of the peacemakers and paramilitaries. Equally significant is Campbell’s conclusion that the international response to the Bosnian war was hamstrung by the poverty of Western thought on the politics of heterogeneous communities. Indeed, he contends that Europe and the United States intervened in Bosnia not to save the ideal of multiculturalism abroad but rather to shore up the nationalist imaginary so as to contain the ideal of multiculturalism at home.

By bringing to the fore the concern with ethics, politics, and responsibility contained in more traditional accounts of the Bosnianwar, this book is a major statement on the inherently ethical and political assumptions of deconstructive thought — and the reworkings of the politics of community it enables.


Football, Violence and Social Identity
by Richard Guilianotti

Drawing on research from Britain, Europe, Argentina and the USA this volume examines the culture and loyalties of soccer players and crowds and their relationships to social order, disorder and violence. This informative and accessible book will be of interest to students of Sport Science and to all of those who love the game of soccer.

Violence as a Generative Force
by Max Bergholz

During two terrifying days and nights in early September 1941, the lives of nearly two thousand men, women, and children were taken savagely by their neighbors in Kulen Vakuf, a small rural community straddling today’s border between northwest Bosnia and Croatia. This frenzy—in which victims were butchered with farm tools, drowned in rivers, and thrown into deep vertical caves—was the culmination of a chain of local massacres that began earlier in the summer. In Violence as a Generative Force, Max Bergholz tells the story of the sudden and perplexing descent of this once peaceful multiethnic community into extreme violence. This deeply researched microhistory provides provocative insights to questions of global significance: What causes intercommunal violence? How does such violence between neighbors affect their identities and relations?

Contrary to a widely held view that sees nationalism leading to violence, Bergholz reveals how the upheavals wrought by local killing actually created dramatically new perceptions of ethnicity—of oneself, supposed “brothers,” and those perceived as “others.” As a consequence, the violence forged new communities, new forms and configurations of power, and new practices of nationalism. The history of this community was marked by an unexpected explosion of locally executed violence by the few, which functioned as a generative force in transforming the identities, relations, and lives of the many. The story of this largely unknown Balkan community in 1941 provides a powerful means through which to rethink fundamental assumptions about the interrelationships among ethnicity, nationalism, and violence, both during World War II and more broadly throughout the world.


Fighting for Recognition
by R. Tyson Smith

In Fighting for Recognition, R. Tyson Smith enters the world of independent professional wrestling, a community-based entertainment staged in community centers, high school gyms, and other modest venues. Like the big-name, televised pro wrestlers who originally inspired them, indie wrestlers engage in choreographed fights in character. Smith details the experiences, meanings, and motivations of the young men who wrestle as “Lethal” or “Southern Bad Boy,” despite receiving little to no pay and risking the possibility of serious and sometimes permanent injury. Exploring intertwined issues of gender, class, violence, and the body, he sheds new light on the changing sources of identity in a postindustrial society that increasingly features low wages, insecure employment, and fragmented social support. Smith uncovers the tensions between strength and vulnerability, pain and solidarity, and homophobia and homoeroticism that play out both backstage and in the ring as the wrestlers seek recognition from fellow performers and devoted fans.

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Idea Of Justice

The Idea of Justice
by Amartya Sen

Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how – and how well – people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind.

The Idea of Justice
by Amartya Kumar Sen

Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how – and how well – people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind.

The Idea of Justice
by Amartya Sen

Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how – and how well – people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind.

A Theory of Justice
by John Rawls

Since it appeared in 1971, John Rawls’s “A Theory of Justice” has become a classic. The author has now revised the original edition to clear up a number of difficulties he and others have found in the original book.

Rawls aims to express an essential part of the common core of the democratic tradition–justice as fairness–and to provide an alternative to utilitarianism, which had dominated the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political thought since the nineteenth century. Rawls substitutes the ideal of the social contract as a more satisfactory account of the basic rights and liberties of citizens as free and equal persons. “Each person,” writes Rawls, “possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override.” Advancing the ideas of Rousseau, Kant, Emerson, and Lincoln, Rawls’s theory is as powerful today as it was when first published.


The Concept of Justice
by Thomas Patrick Burke

In The Concept of Justice, Patrick Burke explores and argues for a return to traditional ideas of ordinary justice in opposition to conceptions of ‘social justice’ that came to dominate political thought in the 20th Century. Arguing that our notions of justice have been made incoherent by the radical incompatibility between instinctive notions of ordinary justice and theoretical conceptions of social justice, the book goes on to explore the historical roots of these ideas of social justice. Finding the roots of these ideas in religious circles in Italy and England in the 19th century, Burke explores the ongoing religious influence in the development of the concept in the works of Marx, Mill and Hobhouse. In opposition to this legacy of liberal thought, the book presents a new theory of ordinary justice drawing on the thought of Immanuel Kant. In this light, Burke finds that all genuine ethical evaluation must presuppose free will and individual responsibility and that all true injustice is fundamentally coercive.

A Brief History of Justice
by David Johnston

A Brief History of Justice traces the development of the idea of justice from the ancient world until the present day, with special attention to the emergence of the modern idea of social justice.

  • An accessible introduction to the history of ideas about justice
  • Shows how complex ideas are anchored in ordinary intuitions about justice
  • Traces the emergence of the idea of social justice
  • Identifies connections as well as differences between distributive and corrective justice
  • Offers accessible, concise introductions to the thought of several leading figures and schools of thought in the history of philosophy

Justice
by Michael J. Sandel

What are our obligations to others as people in a free society? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Is killing sometimes morally required? Is it possible, or desirable, to legislate morality? Do individual rights and the common good conflict?

Michael J. Sandel’s “Justice” course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these con?icts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.


The Concept of Justice and Equality
by Eliane Saadé

Unless considered on a practical level, where a precise distribution of social goods is chosen, John Rawls’s and Gerald Cohen’s approaches to social justice cannot be complementary. Their disagreement about justice and its principles calls for a choice, which opts either for the Rawlsian theory or for the Cohenian one. What is the more plausible approach to social justice? This work compares both approaches and aims to defend Cohen’s position in the light of two considerations. It answers the philosophical question about the analysis of the idea of justice, which puts the virtue of justice in its philosophical context. It, however, presents a method everyone can apply in order to arrive at the fundamental principles of justice by employing the power of reason. An analysis of the concept of justice based on the power of reason should seek to uncover the ultimate nature of justice, which is independent of facts and of other virtues. Once exposed, the understanding of justice arrived at should inform social institutions and determine people’s daily decisions. A just society is therefore a society where just persons and just institutions exhibit the virtue of justice.


The Idea of Justice in Literature
by Hiroshi Kabashima, Shing-I Liu, Christoph Luetge, Aurelio de Prada García

The theme arises from the legal-academic movement “Law and Literature”. This newly developed field should aim at two major goals, first, to investigate the meaning of law in a social context by questioning how the characters appearing in literary works understand and behave themselves to the law (law in literature), and second, to find out a theoretical solution of the methodological question whether and to what extent the legal text can be interpreted objectively in comparison with the question how literary works should be interpreted (law as literature). The subject of justice and injustice has been covered not only in treatises of law and philosophy, but also in many works of literature: On the one hand, poets and writers have been outraged at the social conditions of their time. On the other hand, some of them have also contributed fundamental reflections on the idea of justice itself.

Frontiers of Justice
by Martha C. NUSSBAUM

Theories of social justice, addressing the world and its problems, must respond to the real and changing dilemmas of the day. A brilliant work of practical philosophy, Frontiers of Justice is dedicated to this proposition. Taking up three urgent problems of social justice–those with physical and mental disabilities, all citizens of the world, and nonhuman animals–neglected by current theories and thus harder to tackle in practical terms and everyday life, Martha Nussbaum seeks a theory of social justice that can guide us to a richer, more responsive approach to social cooperation.

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Argumentative Indian

The Argumentative Indian
by Amartya Sen

A Nobel Laureate offers a dazzling new book about his native country
India is a country with many distinct traditions, widely divergent customs, vastly different convictions, and a veritable feast of viewpoints. In The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen draws on a lifetime study of his country’s history and culture to suggest the ways we must understand India today in the light of its rich, long argumentative tradition.
The millenia-old texts and interpretations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, agnostic, and atheistic Indian thought demonstrate, Sen reminds us, ancient and well-respected rules for conducting debates and disputations, and for appreciating not only the richness of India’s diversity but its need for toleration.
Though Westerners have often perceived India as a place of endless spirituality and unreasoning mysticism, he underlines its long tradition of skepticism and reasoning, not to mention its secular contributions to mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, medicine, and political economy.
Sen discusses many aspects of India’s rich intellectual and political heritage, including philosophies of governance from Kautilya’s and Ashoka’s in the fourth and third centuries BCE to Akbar’s in the 1590s; the history and continuing relevance of India’s relations with China more than a millennium ago; its old and well-organized calendars; the films of Satyajit Ray and the debates between Gandhi and the visionary poet Tagore about India’s past, present, and future.
The success of India’s democracy and defense of its secular politics depend, Sen argues, on understanding and using this rich argumentative tradition. It is also essential to removing the inequalities (whether of caste, gender, class, or community) that mar Indian life, to stabilizing the now precarious conditions of a nuclear-armed subcontinent, and to correcting what Sen calls the politics of deprivation. His invaluable book concludes with his meditations on pluralism, on dialogue and dialectics in the pursuit of social justice, and on the nature of the Indian identity.


The Argumentative Indian
by Amartya Sen

India is a very diverse country with many distinct pursuits, vastly different convictions, widely divergent customs, and a veritable feast of viewpoints. The Argumentative Indian brings together an illuminating selection of writings from Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen that outline the need to understand contemporary India in the light of its long argumentative tradition.

The understanding and use of this rich argumentative tradition are critically important, Sen argues, for the success of India’s democracy, the defence of its secular politics, the removal of inequalities related to class, caste, gender and community, and the pursuit of sub-continental peace.


The Argumentative Indian
by Amartya Sen

From Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity brings together an illuminating selection of writings on contemporary India. India is an immensely diverse country with many distinct pursuits, vastly different convictions, widely divergent customs and a veritable feast of viewpoints. Out of these conflicting views spring a rich tradition of skeptical argument and cultural achievement which is critically important, argues Amartya Sen, for the success of India’s democracy, the defence of its secular politics, the removal of inequalities related to class, caste, gender and community, and the pursuit of sub-continental peace. ‘Profound and stimulating … the product of a great mind at the peak of its power’
William Dalrymple, Sunday Times ‘One of the most influential public thinkers of our times…This is a book that needed to have been written…It would be no surprise if it were to become as defining and as influential as work as Edward Said’s Orientalism’
Soumya Bhattacharya, Observer ‘The winner of the 1998 Nobel prize in economics is a star in India … he deserves the recognition … shows that the argumentative gene is not just a part of India’s make-up that can easily be wished away’
The Economist Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge 1998-2004. His most recent books are The Idea of Justice, Identity and Violence and Development as Freedom. His books have been translated into thirty languages.

An Uncertain Glory
by Jean Drèze, Amartya Sen

When India became independent in 1947 after two centuries of colonial rule, it immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system, with multiple parties, freedom of speech, and extensive political rights. The famines of the British era disappeared, and steady economic growth replaced the economic stagnation of the Raj. The growth of the Indian economy quickened further over the last three decades and became the second fastest among large economies. Despite a recent dip, it is still one of the highest in the world.

Maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achievable goal for India. In An Uncertain Glory, two of India’s leading economists argue that the country’s main problems lie in the lack of attention paid to the essential needs of the people, especially of the poor, and often of women. There have been major failures both to foster participatory growth and to make good use of the public resources generated by economic growth to enhance people’s living conditions. There is also a continued inadequacy of social services such as schooling and medical care as well as of physical services such as safe water, electricity, drainage, transportation, and sanitation. In the long run, even the feasibility of high economic growth is threatened by the underdevelopment of social and physical infrastructure and the neglect of human capabilities, in contrast with the Asian approach of simultaneous pursuit of economic growth and human development, as pioneered by Japan, South Korea, and China.

In a democratic system, which India has great reason to value, addressing these failures requires not only significant policy rethinking by the government, but also a clearer public understanding of the abysmal extent of social and economic deprivations in the country. The deep inequalities in Indian society tend to constrict public discussion, confining it largely to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent. Drèze and Sen present a powerful analysis of these deprivations and inequalities as well as the possibility of change through democratic practice.


Identity and Violence
by Amartya Sen

Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or ‘cultures’ or ‘civilizations’), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violencehe overturns such stereotypes as the ‘the monolithic Middle East’ or ‘the Western Mind’. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.

The Idea of Justice
by Amartya Sen

Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how – and how well – people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.


India Unbound
by Gurcharan Das

India today is a vibrant free-market democracy, a nation well on its way to overcoming decades of widespread poverty. The nation’s rise is one of the great international stories of the late twentieth century, and in India Unbound the acclaimed columnist Gurcharan Das offers a sweeping economic history of India from independence to the new millennium.

Das shows how India’s policies after 1947 condemned the nation to a hobbled economy until 1991, when the government instituted sweeping reforms that paved the way for extraordinary growth. Das traces these developments and tells the stories of the major players from Nehru through today. As the former CEO of Proctor & Gamble India, Das offers a unique insider’s perspective and he deftly interweaves memoir with history, creating a book that is at once vigorously analytical and vividly written. Impassioned, erudite, and eminently readable, India Unbound is a must for anyone interested in the global economy and its future.


Identity as Reasoned Choice
by Jonardon Ganeri

In an increasingly multi-religious and multi-ethnic world, identity has become something actively chosen rather than merely acquired at birth. This book essentially analyzes the resources available to make such a choice.

Looking into the world of intellectual India, this unique comparative survey focuses on the identity resources offered by India’s traditions of reasoning and public debate. Arguing that identity is a formation of reason, it draws on Indian theory to claim that identities are constructed from exercises of reason as derivation from exemplary cases. The book demonstrates that contemporary debates on global governance and cosmopolitan identities can benefit from these Indian resources, which were developed within an intercultural pluralism context with an emphasis on consensual resolution of conflict.

This groundbreaking work builds on themes developed by Amartya Sen to provide a creative pursuit of Indian reasoning that will appeal to anyone studying politics, philosophy, and Asian political thought.