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  • Cited by 5
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Binder, Martin 2014. Subjective Well-Being Capabilities: Bridging the Gap Between the Capability Approach and Subjective Well-Being Research. Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 15, Issue. 5, p. 1197.

    Li, Zhengtao Folmer, Henk and Xue, Jianhong 2014. To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China. Ecological Economics, Vol. 99, p. 88.

    Breton, E. and Sherlaw, W. 2011. Examining Tobacco Control Strategies and Aims Through a Social Justice Lens: An Application of Sen's Capability Approach. Public Health Ethics, Vol. 4, Issue. 2, p. 149.

    Burchardt, Tania 2009. Agency Goals, Adaptation and Capability Sets. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Vol. 10, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Davies, Bleddyn 2007. Social Planning: Classics in Planning I - Edited by Jessie P. H. Poon, Kenneth Button and Peter Nijkamp. Social Policy & Administration, Vol. 41, Issue. 5, p. 525.


Utility and Capability

  • L.W. SUMNER (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 February 2006

When Amartya Sen defends his capability theory of well-being he contrasts it with the utility theory advocated by the classical utilitarians, including John Stuart Mill. Yet a closer examination of the two theories reveals that they are much more similar than they appear. Each theory can be interpreted in either a subjective or an objective way. When both are interpreted subjectively the differences between them are slight, and likewise for the objective interpretations. Finally, whatever differences may remain are less important than they might seem, since the two theories are developed by Sen and Mill for different purposes and are in that sense not genuine rivals.

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  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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