IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/wpaper/halshs-01963252.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The capacity to confuse: rescuing the Saint-Simonian notion of ability from modern capability theories of social justice

Author

Listed:
  • Antoinette Baujard

    () (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)

  • Adrien Lutz

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)

Abstract

"To each according to his ability, to each ability according to his works" constitutes the founding slogan of the Saint-Simonian doctrine (1825-1832). A century and a half would pass before Sen and Nussbaum developed their capability approaches, designed to consider issues of human development and quality of life. Given the prominence of capability approaches in the context of modern theories of justice, and perhaps also due to the natural analogy between the words 'capacité', 'ability', and 'capability', there is a clear tendency in the literature to analyse the Saint-Simonians' contributions to justice based on the assumption that there is a conceptual link between the terms capability and ability. This paper claims, however, that the elision of these terms is unjustified, and is a source more of confusion than of enlightenment. A capability is an evaluative space for justice, while an ability is a property of individuals. The former is defined essentially in the domain of consumption and individual accomplishment, while the latter is clearly seen as a contribution to the theory of efficient production. Finally, these differences reveal a contrast in the focus values: the ability approach insists on efficiency, while the capability approach focuses on agency.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoinette Baujard & Adrien Lutz, 2018. "The capacity to confuse: rescuing the Saint-Simonian notion of ability from modern capability theories of social justice," Working Papers halshs-01963252, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01963252
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01963252
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01963252/document
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. E. S. Mason, 1931. "Saint-Simonism and the Rationalisation of Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 640-683.
    2. Whatmore, Richard, 2000. "Republicanism and the French Revolution: An Intellectual History of Jean-Baptiste Say's Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199241156.
    3. Muriel Gilardone, 2016. "Amartya Sen : un allié pour l’économie de la personne contre la métrique des capabilités. Deux arguments pour une lecture non fonctionnelle de la liberté chez Sen," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2016-11, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    4. Faccarello G. & Steiner P., 2007. "Religion and Political Economy in Early 19th Century France," Working Papers ERMES 0721, ERMES, University Paris 2.
    5. Feriel Kandil, 2010. "Idéale ou comparative : quelle approche pour la justice sociale ?," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 61(2), pages 213-235.
    6. Antoinette Baujard & Muriel Gilardone, 2017. "Sen is not a capability theorist," Post-Print halshs-01381405, HAL.
    7. Antoinette Baujard & Muriel Gilardone, 2017. "Sen is not a capability theorist," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 1-19, January.
    8. Gilbert Faccarello & Philippe Steiner, 2008. "Religion and Political Economy in Early-Nineteenth-Century France," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 40(5), pages 26-61, Supplemen.
    9. Amartya Sen, 2004. "Capabilities, Lists, And Public Reason: Continuing The Conversation," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 77-80.
    10. Ragip Ege & Herrade Igersheim & Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2016. "Transcendental vs. comparative approaches to justice: a reappraisal of Sen's dichotomy," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 521-543, August.
    11. Hume, David, 1739. "A Treatise of Human Nature (I) Of the Understanding," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 1, number hume1739.
    12. John Cunliffe & Guido Erreygers, 1999. "Moral philosophy and economics: the formation of Francois Huet's doctrine of property rights," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 581-605.
    13. Severine Deneulin, 2002. "Perfectionism, Paternalism and Liberalism in Sen and Nussbaum's Capability Approach," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 497-518.
    14. Riccardo Soliani, 2009. "Claude-Henri de Saint-Simon : Hierarchical Socialism?," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 17(2), pages 21-39.
    15. Hume, David, 1740. "A Treatise of Human Nature (III) Of Morals," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 3, number hume1740.
    16. Carter, Ian, 2014. "Is The Capability Approach Paternalist?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(1), pages 75-98, March.
    17. Ludovic Frobert, 2014. "What is a just society? The answer according to the Socialistes Fraternitaires Louis Blanc, Constantin Pecqueur, and François Vidal," Post-Print halshs-00992599, HAL.
    18. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2012. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199653591.
    19. Hume, David, 1739. "A Treatise of Human Nature (II) Of the Passions," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 2, number hume1739a.
    20. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
    21. Valentini, Laura, 2011. "A Paradigm Shift In Theorizing About Justice? A Critique Of Sen," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 297-315, November.
    22. Sen, Amartya K, 1979. "Personal Utilities and Public Judgements: Or What's Wrong with Welfare Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 537-558, September.
    23. John B. Davis, 2012. "The idea of public reasoning," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 169-172, June.
    24. Ludovic Frobert, 2014. "What Is a Just Society? The Answer according to the Socialistes Fraternitaires Louis Blanc, Constantin Pecqueur, and François Vidal," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 281-306, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social justice; Capability; Ability; Sen; Saint-Simonianism;

    JEL classification:

    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01963252. 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: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.