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This review is from: Development as Freedom (Paperback)In my young scholarly life so far, this has been without exception, ths most rewarding, inspiring, engaging and innovative book I have read in the social sciences.
The book is even more rewarding to those who know the intellectual precedents which fall behind Development as Freedom, because Sen offers a shaft of light and a radically new perpsective in contrast to the mundane, stagnant and uninspiring visions of improving the lives of human beings.
Cutting to the core, the Capability Approach (CA) which Sen advances in this books has several attractive features to me.
First, (and this is rare for many philosophies), Capabilties can be practically implemented in all fields of development and public policy.
Second, the CA is highly intuitive. Sen doesn't consider individuals to be agents concerned with utility maximisaton. Nor does he base the CA on hypothetical thought experiments. The CA is based on a humane vision and understanding of human beings by enabling them to choose the routes of life they can enjoy.
Third, the CA has intellectual roots stretching to the beautiful ideas of virtue cultivated by Aristotle. It is delightful to see a leading philosopher applying Aristotle's ideas appropriately.
Taken together, these strengths make this book very interesting to anyone interested in understanding how the lives of people can be improved.
In sum, read this book!