Needs, Incommensurability and Well-being
Some have argued for the priority of needs in moral and development theory, on the grounds that people have conflicting and incommensurable values and conceptions of the good. In this paper, I concentrate on one version of this view, that due to John Rawls. Rawls' view is that a person's advantage should be evaluated in terms of certain primary goods which are citizens' needs. I outline a variation on James Griffin's account of well-being, which involves certain values that make any human life better—prudential values. I argue that such values are commensurable, and that the account is consistent with pluralism. The discussion supports and helps us to understand various criticisms of Rawls. It also suggests that one argument for the priority of needs in development theory is invalid.
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): 9 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CRPE20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CRPE20|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:9:y:1997:i:3:p:261-276. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.