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Valuing FreedomsSen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction$
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Sabina Alkire

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199245797.001.0001

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Poverty and Human Development

Poverty and Human Development

(p.25) 2 Poverty and Human Development
Valuing Freedoms

Sabina Alkire (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Each of the four chapters of Part I of the book synthesizes one aspect that must be specified in the operationalization of the capability approach, then proposes a framework for doing so. The issue of this second chapter is how one ‘specifies’ the dimensions of valuable functioning or capability. Martha Nussbaum's work on central human capabilities and John Finnis's work on basic human reasons for action are both presented, and then alternative accounts of universal human needs and values are briefly considered. The theoretical conception of basic human values that has been developed by Finnis is proposed as being a conception that enables and requires participatory dialogue in application, has objective foundations, and can also coherently engage with and be refined by the large and growing empirical literatures on happiness, subjective well‐being, quality of life indicators, and views of the poor—which have not been well‐integrated with poverty reduction approaches. This conception can also mesh well with methodological literatures on participation, and be used by persons with diverse philosophical approaches and opinions. Ends with a table listing the dimensions of human development from 39 different disciplines.

Keywords:   basic human reasons for action, basic human values, capability approach, dimensions of human development, happiness, human capabilities, human development, John Finnis, Martha Nussbaum, operationalization, participation, participatory dialogue, poverty, poverty reduction, quality of life indicators, subjective well‐being, universal human needs and values, views of the poor

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