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Listening distant voices could resolve issues: Sen

Last Updated: Saturday, October 3, 2009 - 09:13

New York: Listening to distant voices and strengthening the participatory process will be useful in finding solution to issues like global warming, terrorism and AIDS, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said.
Sen, while discussing about his latest book – The Idea of Justice -- with a gathering at the Carnegie Council about his book here, noted that in the present legal system of most states confine the rights and justice only to their citizens, a phenomenon he described as "Closed impartiality”.

The economist called for states to consider the option of an "Open impartiality" policy that "pay attention to views of people far away as well as near".

The option of "Open Impartiality”, he insisted would also help nations to avoid the "parochialism of the locals”, which in many cases justified practices like stoning of women for adultery, capital punishment and female infanticide.

"Institutions by themselves do not deliver justice. Behavioural patterns should be taken into account," Sen said.

"We may reject a great many of these proposals." Sen remarked that Pakistan`s Human Rights Commission was not an institution with a legal status but worked more like an NGO. The body, however, had made an impact on public policy by "skilful use of public discourse," he added.

The Nobel laureate asked to explore options other than the theory of "social contract," which had emerged as dominant ideal during the enlightenment period.

He referred to a great deal of Indian Literature in his quest for alternate theories of justice.

"Indian law, Indian philosophy, particularly epistemology. I also made use of the epics and general discussion on social and political concerns," Sen said.

Professor Sen won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1998. Until recently he was the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and is presently a Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University.

He will be delivering the opening address at the Indian Philosophical Congress in Mumbai later in this month.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, October 3, 2009 - 09:13
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