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Joseph Siani
''The role of freedom in Sen's Capability approach''
( 2017, Vol. 37 No.1 )
Is someone free when he has the power to achieve something? Or is someone free when he is not prevented by external constraints from doing something? Berlin's Two Concepts of Liberty and Rawls' Justice as Fairness are two prominent answers to these questions. Sen echoes Berlin and Rawls when he argues that both positive and negative freedoms are important. However unlike Berlin, He refuses to theorize the dichotomy between positive and negative freedom. Concerning Rawls, he thinks that the 'primary goods' concentrate on the means to freedom, rather than on the extend of the freedom that the person actually has (Sen, 1984:81). Sen suggests that there is only one sort of freedom, a positive freedom which concerns what people are free to do, as well as what they actually do. Therefore, Sen's approach includes both a negative (the absence of constraint) and a positive feature (the presence of real opportunities). This conception resembles the one advocated by Green. However, if Sen acknowledges link with Rawls and Berlin, he fails to admit that he has been inspired by Green. The aim of this paper is twofold. First we seek to present the role of freedom in Sen's work. Second we aim to show that the Sen's conception of freedom was enriched by the writings of Green.
Keywords: Capability approach, Freedom, Functioning, Development, Agency, Sen, Green
JEL: D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making: General
Manuscript Received : Oct 31 2013 Manuscript Accepted : Jan 13 2017

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