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On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy$
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G. A. Cohen and Michael Otsuka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148700

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.001.0001

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Sen on Capability, Freedom, and Control

Sen on Capability, Freedom, and Control

(p.73) Chapter Three Sen on Capability, Freedom, and Control
On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy

G. A. Cohen

, Michael Otsuka
Princeton University Press

This chapter first describes the idea of “capability” by Amartya Sen. Capability is a form of freedom, the freedom, specifically, to choose a set of functionings. When the value of that freedom is measured in terms of the forms of well-being those sets of functionings constitute, then what Sen calls a person's “well-being freedom” is displayed. But well-being freedom is not freedom as such. It must be distinguished from “agency freedom,” which is a person's freedom to achieve whatever goals she has, including goals other than her own well-being. The chapter then takes up the connection or lack of it between freedom and control. It shows that Sen's argument for the existence of freedom without control is unsuccessful, and indicates the true shape of the important phenomenon that he has discerned.

Keywords:   Amartya Sen, capability, freedom, control, political philosophy, G. A. Cohen

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