Endorsement and freedom in Amartya Sen's capability approach

Economics and Philosophy 21 (1):89-108 (2005)
Abstract
A central question for assessing the merits of Amartya Sen's capability approach as a potential answer to the “distribution of what”? question concerns the exact role and nature of freedom in that approach. Sen holds that a person's capability identifies that person's effective freedom to achieve valuable states of beings and doings, or functionings, and that freedom so understood, rather than achieved functionings themselves, is the primary evaluative space. Sen's emphasis on freedom has been criticised by G. A. Cohen, according to whom the capability approach either uses too expansive a definition of freedom or rests on an implausibly active, indeed “athletic,” view of well-being. This paper defends the capability approach from this criticism. It argues that we can view the capability approach to be underpinned by an account of well-being which takes the endorsement of valuable functionings as constitutive of well-being, and by a particular view of the way in which endorsement relates to force and choice. Footnotes1 I would like to thank Paul Bou-Habib, Ian Carter, Matthew Kramer, Ingrid Robeyns, Peter Vallentyne, and two Economics and Philosophy referees for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I am also grateful to the participants of the Edinburgh ECPR Workshop, the Hoover Chair Seminar in Louvain-La-Neuve, the King's College Moral Philosophy Group in Cambridge, the Nuffield Political Theory Workshop in Oxford, and the session on the Capability Approach at the Philadelphia APSA Annual Conference.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0266267104000409
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,719
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Is the Capability Approach Paternalist?Ian Carter - 2014 - Economics and Philosophy 30 (1):75-98.
The Missing-Desires Objection to Hybrid Theories of Well-Being.William Lauinger - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):270-295.
Capability Paternalism.Rutger Claassen - 2014 - Economics and Philosophy 30 (1):57-73.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
“Justice as Freedom”.Subodh P. Kulkarni - 2009 - Business and Professional Ethics Journal 28 (1-4):3-26.
Can the Capability Approach Be Justified?Thomas Pogge - 2002 - Philosophical Topics 30 (2):167-228.
Gender, Discrimination, and Capability: Insights From Amartya Sen.Douglas A. Hicks - 2002 - Journal of Religious Ethics 30 (1):137 - 154.
Social Choice and Individual Capabilities.Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2007 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (2):169-192.
The Sen of Inequality.Andrew Askland - 1998 - Journal of Philosophical Research 23:399-415.
Critical Capability Pedagogies and University Education.Melanie Walker - 2010 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (8):898-917.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
74 ( #73,596 of 2,197,288 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #298,964 of 2,197,288 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature