Symposium on Amartya Sen's philosophy: 5 Adaptive preferences and women's options
AbstractAny defense of universal norms involves drawing distinctions among the many things people actually desire. If it is to have any content at all, it will say that some objects of desire are more central than others for political purposes, more indispensable to a human being s quality of life. Any wise such approach will go even further, holding that some existing preferences are actually bad bases for social policy. The list of Central Human Capabilities that forms the core of my political project contains many functions that many people over the ages have preferred not to grant to women, either not at all, or not on a basis of equality. To insist on their centrality is thus to go against preferences that have considerable depth and breadth in traditions of male power. Moreover, the list contains many items that women over the ages have not wanted for themselves, and some that even today many women do not pursue so in putting the list at the center of a normative political project aimed at providing the philosophical underpinning for basic political principles, we are going against not just other people s preferences about women, but, more controversially, against many preferences (or so it seems) of women about themselves and their lives. To some extent, my approach, like Sen s, avoids these problems of paternalism by insisting that the political goal is capability, not actual functioning, and by dwelling on the central importance of choice as a good. But the notion of choice and practical reason used in the list is a normative notion, emphasizing the critical activity of reason in a way that does not reflect the actual use of reason in many lives.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Economics and Philosophy.
Volume (Year): 17 (2001)
Issue (Month): 01 (April)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU UK
Fax: +44 (0)1223 325150
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_EAPProvider-Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2005.
"Knowing what is good for you. Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the “objective good”,"
- Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Knowing what is good for you: Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the "objective good"," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 285-307, April.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Knowing what is good for you: Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the 'objective good'," CASE Papers 094, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Knowing what is good for you. Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the 'objective good'," Others 0502002, EconWPA.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2004. "Knowing what is good for you. Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the “objective good”," Others 0410010, EconWPA.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Knowing what is good for you: empirical analysis of personal preferences and the 'objective good'," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6270, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.