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Capabilities and Human Dilemmas: How to Cope with Incompleteness

  • Mario Biggeri

    ()

  • Nicolò Bellanca

    ()

    (Università degli Studi di Firenze)

The main objective of this paper is to discuss the role of evaluative incompleteness in the work of Amartya Sen. In section 2, we consider Sen’s distinction between optimising or perfect choices and maximising or acceptable choices, showing it is based on a restrictive interpretation of incompleteness. In section 3, we argue that this distinction does not take into account a third crucial category of human choices, the dilemmas, and we show they are based on the concept of incompleteness in a strict sense. Section 4 discusses the reason why in Sen’s theoretical approach dilemmas and incompleteness appear to be somehow neglected. Then, in section 5 we advance an attempt to analyse human choices – both in the form of dilemmas or not – in conditions of incompleteness, while in section 6 we suggest a definition of freedom able to embrace also these dilemmatic choices. Finally, section 7 concludes.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2013_08.rdf.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2013_08.rdf
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  1. Eliaz, Kfir & Ok, Efe A., 2006. "Indifference or indecisiveness? Choice-theoretic foundations of incomplete preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 61-86, July.
  2. Eric Danan & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2004. "Are preferences incomplete? An experimental study using flexible choices," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  3. Tania Burchardt & Polly Vizard, 2011. "'Operationalizing' the Capability Approach as a Basis for Equality and Human Rights Monitoring in Twenty-first-century Britain," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 91-119.
  4. Anand, Paul & Krishnakumar, Jaya & Tran, Ngoc Bich, 2011. "Measuring welfare: Latent variable models for happiness and capabilities in the presence of unobservable heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 205-215.
  5. Vittorioemanuele Ferrante, 2012. "Incomplete altruistic preferences," Working Papers - Economics wp2012_05.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
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