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Record: oai:ARNO:390060

AuthorJ.B. Davis
TitleIdentity and commitment: Sen's conception of the individual
PublisherTinbergen Institute
PlaceAmsterdam [etc.]
Year2004
Pages29
Title seriesTinbergen Institute discussion paper
Series number2004-055/2
FacultyFaculty of Economics and Business
Institute/dept.FEB: Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
AbstractThis paper develops a conception of personal identity for Amartya Sen's capability
framework that emphasizes his self-scrutinizing aspect of the self and related concept of
commitment, and compares this conception to the collective intentionality-based one
advanced in Davis (2003c). The paper also distinguishes personal identity and social
identity, and contrasts Sen's framework with recent standard economics┬┐ explanation of
social identity in terms of conformity. Sen's concept of commitment is examined in two
formulations, and the later version is related to Bernard Williams┬┐ thinking about
identity-conferring commitments. The paper's concludes by arguing that explaining
personal identity as a special capability and possible object of social-economic policy
provides one way of resolving the debate over whether the capability framework ought to
have a short-list of essential capabilities.
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