Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 880
Freedom/Sen: "substantive freedom": a theory of political together and for each other, which justifies cosmopolitan duties of the currently living people towards their fellow world, environment and posterity from the principle of individual freedom.
Brocker I 884
The foundation of our social reality must be the free choice of everyone on the value and worth of their options. Economics must therefore be conceived from the idea of freedom.(1) See >Markets/Sen.
Sen therefore wants to clarify the question of suitable parameters for economic success through social debates and "public discussion"(2). Econometric goals should be defined democratically - and not vice versa technocratic measures should dictate economic policy.
Instead of hiding economic value measures in the premises and axioms of econometrics, they should be made visible, discussed in public and approved or rejected by "responsible social choice".(3) Which values and goals should take precedence must be renegotiated from society to society, from place to place and from time to time - in the interest of freedom. >Utilitarianism/Sen.
Brocker I 886
Freedom manifests itself not only in a choice between (given) alternatives, but always also in the choice of (potentially better) alternatives and in the search for them. Therefore Sen appreciates the tradition of the theories of "positive freedom".(4)
SenVsNeoliberalism: misunderstanding theories of negative freedom, says Sen, that it is often less a matter of private control over spheres of action than of their design.
Brocker I 887
Sen does, however, form a coalition with defenders of negative freedom in so far as he, like this dictatorship, rejects any kind of happiness dictatorship that promises people life chances at the expense of their civic freedoms.
The right to property and ownership, for example, may in no case be treated as equivalent to the right not to be tortured or killed. (5) Such differentiations, however, are denied if libertarians treat both rights equally as "ancillary conditions" of individual freedom. >Neoliberalism/Sen.
SenVsNozick: a freedom protection that only pays attention to procedures, never to final results, can produce counter-intuitive results.
I 888
Negative Freedom/Sen: Why (...) is the theory of negative freedom still so widespread despite its obvious shortcomings? A purely formal concept of freedom is easier to quantify and fit into a mathematized economy. One simply counts options and identifies every increase in them as a gain in freedom.
SenVsNegative Freedom: Every election decision must "not only be judged in terms of the number of available choices, but its attractiveness must also be assessed".(6) A purely formal theory of freedom therefore runs nowhere.
Brocker I 889
Not only are a few good options certainly preferable to a selection from countless hideous possibilities; often it is quantitative reduction that leads to qualitative improvement of options. (7) Having access to meaningful options also clearly stands and falls with the possibility of evaluating one's own preferences and life chances in coordination with others and changing them in collaboration with them.
Tripartite Freedom Model/Sen: 1. aspect of possibility, which focuses on our life chances, 2. aspect of process: examines how these come about. 3. "substantive freedom": here these two aspects are combined.
Def Essential Freedom/Sen: 1. political freedom, 2. economic institutions, 3. social opportunities, 4. transparency guarantees and 5. social security(8).



1. Amartya Sen, Ökonomie für den Menschen. Wege zu Gerechtigkeit und Solidarität in der Marktwirtschaft, München 2000, S. 44
2. Ibid. p. 100.
3. Ibid. p. 137
4. A.Sen, Rationality and Freedom, Cambridge, Mass./London 2002, S. S. 509
5. Ibid. p. 636
6. Sen 2000 p. 146
7. Sen 2002, p. 602
8. Sen 2000, p. 52-54

Claus Dierksmeier, „Amartya Sen, Ökonomie für den Menschen (1999)“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconSen I
Amartya Sen
Collective Choice and Social Welfare: Expanded Edition London 2017

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-03-26
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