Ethics, Ontology and Capabilities
Amartya Sen's capability approach is concerned with the evaluation of inequality, and in particular with the description of the space in which equality should be assessed (the space of capabilities, or potential functionings). I will argue that Sen's approach is a philosophical exercise aimed at providing the ground for substantive theorising to proceed, that it does not itself engage in substantive theorising, and that it is mainly concerned with ontological description. Sen uses the categories of capabilities and respectively functionings to describe advantage and well-being. This ontological description can then be used for ethical theorising. But, as will be argued, the main emphasis of Sen's approach has been on the former, not on the latter. I will also argue that ontological realism is essential to Sen's approach, and that much of the persuasiveness of Sen's arguments spring from this (not explicitly acknowledged) ontological dimension. Furthermore, I will argue that an explicit recognition of this dimension is crucial for the development of Sen's perspective.
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 19 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CRPE20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CRPE20|