Capability as Opportunity: How Amartya Sen Revises Equal Opportunity

Journal of Religious Ethics 30 (1):107 - 135 (2002)

Abstract

Although the concept of equal opportunity has received scant attention from theological ethics, it attracts widespread approval in the U.S. popular culture and has been examined extensively by contemporary moral philosophy. Amartya Sen's conception of capabilities as "freedom" or "real opportunity" corrects deficiencies in both popular and philosophical conceptions of equal opportunity that ignore interpersonal variations in mental, physical, and psychological abilities beyond agents' control. Recent theologically informed conceptions of love and common grace affirm and revise Sen's conception of equal capability as equal opportunity. The resulting understanding of equal opportunity is quite different from some uses of this concept and could be an important criterion for a just society

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