"Positional views" as the cornerstone of Sen's idea of justice
Muriel Gilardone  1@  , Antoinette Baujard  2@  
1 : Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management  (CREM)  -  Site web
CNRS : UMR6211, Universite de Rennes 1, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie
2 : Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique  (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne)  -  Site web
CNRS : UMR5824
93 chemin des Mouilles 69130 ECULLY --- 6 rue Basse des Rives 42023 Saint-Etienne cedex 02 -  France

According to a consensual observation in the special issue of the Journal of Economic Methodology (2012, vol. 19, n°2) on Amartya Sen's The idea of justice (2009), Sen's theory needs further clarification and articulation. This paper defends that, as soon as we focus on the idea of public reasoning rather than capability (after Baujard & Gilardone 2015), the cornerstone of Sen's contribution to theories of justice may be found in his concept of “positional views” (Peter 2012). This reading allows presenting Sen's idea of justice in a novel and clarified way. Firstly, we highlight the dramatic distinction of positional views with preferences, notably because the former are primarily linked to “objectivity”. Secondly, we argue that Sen's conception of objectivity takes into account information and sentiments relative to a position. Thirdly, we claim that Sen's idea of public reasoning, with at its core positional views, is more respectful of individual agency than would be, for instance, a capability theory. Positional views are not a material to be aggregated to reach a transpositional view or a consistent social view on justice. Positional views are the means of public reasoning to objectivize through discussion the information basis available in each position and the relevant sentiments for matters of justice. They allow a reflexivity that strengthens individual agency and responsibility for the evaluation of justice, and possibly an evolution toward more transpositional views.

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