‘Reason to Value’: Process, Opportunity, and Perfectionism in the Capability Approach


Sen's version of the Capability Approach (CA) is often defended for its respect for people's individual evaluative processes, but the idea of having “reason to value” (R2V), the authors argue, incorporates additional normative commitments into the CA, commitments that might be required for prospective judgments about what will enhance people’s lives, or what they will come to value over time—judgments development practice cannot do without.  This chapter first discusses the role the phrase R2V plays in the CA literature.  Next, the authors develop three understandings of the phrase “(value and have) reason to value” and assess a) how well each harmonizes with other core commitments and goals of Sen’s version of the CA and b) how well each does at avoiding paternalism and disrespect for pluralism.  They call these “the procedural autonomy interpretation,” “the process interpretation,” and “the perfectionist interpretation.” Finally, they argue that the only two interpretations of the phrase that permit the prospective value judgments development practice requires also import perfectionist content into the CA.  Thus, Khader and Kosko argue, the idea of a CA whose only normative commitments are to respect for freedom and agency (at least of non-value-laden sorts) is untenable.