Development and Personal Identity

Wells, Thomas, and John Davis (2011). "Development and Personal Identity" Paper presented at the 8th annual conference of the HDCA, 6-8 September 2011, the Hague, the Netherlands.

Human development policy is meant to be transformational in that it aims to change people?s lives through capability development. But who does it target: people as they are or who they will become? This paper argues human development policy relies on an understanding of personal identity as dynamic that treats people as collections of capabilities rather than as static collections of preferences. It shows how this understanding answers the traditional economic policy objection that a transformational human development policy is misconceived, incoherent, and/or paternalistic. It addresses the communitarian and legitimacy ethical critiques of the capability approach particularly associated with the paternalism critique, and links this response to the capability approach?s distinction between the constituents and determinants of well-being that underlies its democratic understanding of policy and society.
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