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Poursuivre, avec une maladie d’Alzheimer, une vie qui a de la valeur. La valeur de la vie dans l’approche par les capabilités

Abstract : We discuss the evaluation of human life as put forward in the capability approach. Initially developed by economist Amartya Sen, it is based on three observations. The first is that of human diversity. The second is that the availability of resources is insufficient, by itself, to ensure people’s ability to act or to experience “the good life.” And finally, that of the necessity of finding practical solutions for making society less unjust for those who, for various reasons, live in conditions of disadvantage that, taken together, warrant corrective action. We emphasize the concept of the “good life” as set forth by the capability approach, namely a life course to which one attaches value, corresponding to one’s wishes, thus contrasting this approach with the usual methods of evaluation, notably those developed by utilitarian economists, especially those focused on the quantification of means. Then, using results from research on people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder, we describe the methodological shift necessary for using the capability approach. This requires building up the widest possible information base in order to describe what it is in people’s ways of doing and being, both reported and observed by those directly or indirectly involved, that results from a choice they value or that is portrayed as having special value. In other words, it details what matters to them and thus their aspirations and goals. We especially emphasize the importance of looking to the past in these particular situations in order to give value to present life. We discuss this result in light of the debate concerning human life, understood as treasure or as capital, to illustrate the difficulties this poses for assigning this result to one or the other of these two concepts, considered as mutually exclusive, and the risk there would then be of neglecting the specific contribution of the capability approach.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 3:15:33 PM
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Catherine Le Galès, Martine Bungener. Poursuivre, avec une maladie d’Alzheimer, une vie qui a de la valeur. La valeur de la vie dans l’approche par les capabilités. Revue française d'éthique appliquée, 2017, 3 (1), pp.43-56. ⟨10.3917/rfeap.003.0043⟩. ⟨hal-03480012⟩



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