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Identity and Commitment: Sen's Conception of the Individual

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  • John B. Davis

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper develops a conception of personal identity for Amartya Sen's capability framework that emphasizes his self-scrutinizing aspect of the self and related concept of commitment, and compares this conception to the co1lective intentionality-based one advanced in Davis (2003c). The paper also distinguishes personal identity and social identity, and contrasts Sen's framework with recent standard economics' explanation of social identity in terms of conformity. Sen's concept of commitment is examined in two formulations, and the later version is related to Bernard Wi1liams' thinking about identity-conferring commitments. The paper concludes by arguing that explaining personal identity as a special capability and possible object of social-economic policy provides one way of resolving the debate over whether the capability framework ought to have a short-list of essential capabilities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 04-055/2.

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Date of creation: 20 May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20040055

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Sen; personal identity; social identity; commitment; reflexivity; theory of conformity; collective intentionality; Bernard Williams; capabilities; Nussbaum;

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References

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  1. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  2. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
  3. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  4. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  5. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  6. Kavka, Gregory S., 1991. "Is Individual Choice Less Problematic than Collective Choice?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 143-165, October.
  7. Schelling, Thomas C, 1978. "Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 290-94, May.
  8. Martha Nussbaum, 2003. "Capabilities As Fundamental Entitlements: Sen And Social Justice," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 33-59.
  9. Ingrid Robeyns, 2003. "Sen'S Capability Approach And Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 61-92.
  10. Anderson, Elizabeth, 2001. "Symposium on Amartya Sen's philosophy: 2 Unstrapping the straitjacket of : a comment on Amartya Sen's contributions to philosophy and economics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 21-38, April.
  11. John B. Davis, 2003. "The Conception of the Individual in Non-Cooperative Game Theory," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-095/2, Tinbergen Institute.
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Cited by:
  1. John B. Davis, 2005. "Social Identity Strategies in Recent Economics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-078/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Raphaël Lhomme, 2013. "Faits et valeurs dans l'approche par les capabilités en économie : la place de la culture dans la méthodologie. Le cas des inégalités de genre dans l'accès à l'éducation de base," Post-Print dumas-00906152, HAL.

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