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Rationality and Freedom

Amartya Sen
Harvard University Press (December 2002)

Rationality and freedom are among the most profound and contentious concepts in philosophy and the social sciences. In two volumes, freedom and justice, the author brings clarity and insight to these difficult issues. This volume - the first of two - is principally concerned with rationality and freedom.

Sen scrutinises 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 utilised to illuminate the demands of rationality in individual, as well as social, choice. 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.

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