Rights, Capabilities and Recognition

An alternative reading of Amartya Sen and Paul Ricoeur’s “dialogue”

  • Valentina Erasmo Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara
Keywords: capabilities, recognition, rights


This paper follows Ricoeur’s trajectory and strategy of thought in his final works, bringing into discussion aspects of Sen’s texts and relevant commentary by other scholars. The main result of this paper is to offer an alternative reading compared to the literature, highlighting how Ricoeur is indebted to Sen but also considering how the two differ in order to reach a more equilibrate view of their “dialogue”. Among their analogies, Ricoeur explicitly recognized Sen’s influence in his transition from self-recognition to mutual recognition and they assigned the same value to capabilities. But their respective understanding of mutuality among human agents is the main difference between them. Ricoeur wants to create authentical space and real opportunity for mutual understanding where rights and capabilities might be finally conciliated. In contrast, Sen is still enough weary and hesitant to commit to what he would consider an ideal aim of human discourse and interaction.


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How to Cite
Erasmo, V. (2022). Rights, Capabilities and Recognition. Critical Hermeneutics, 5(2), 247-276. https://doi.org/10.13125/CH/4673