Information for students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19. (Updated: 29 May 2020)

Skip to content

Including Ill-Being in Capabilitarian Well-Being Theories

Time Wednesday 27 May, 2020 at 13:15 - 15:00
Place Online in Zoom

The Research Seminar Series in Philosophy invites you to a seminar with Sebastian Östlund, "Including Ill-Being in Capabilitarian Well-Being Theories".


Capabilitarian well-being theories focus on people’s actual opportunities to be and do things that they have reason to value. For instance, these theories cover people’s actual opportunities to eat enough, and the extent to which people do eat enough. The definitions of ‘capability’ and ‘functioning’ pick out actual opportunities and states of being and doing, respectively. Sen’s capability approach framework, that he uses to analyse well-being, holds that the attainment of relevant capabilities and/or functionings makes a person’s life go well for her. Conversely, a person’s life goes badly for her to the extent that she doesn’t attain these relevant capabilities and/or functionings. On Sen’s view, ill-being is thus analysed as shortfalls of positive capabilities and/or functionings. In this paper, I argue that ill-being is not fully captured by shortfalls of positive capabilities and/or functionings. Instead, I propose that capabilitarian well-being theories should consider a larger array of capabilities and functionings that, by being attained, decrease one’s level of well-being. The slogan for this view is that well-being relevancy does not imply prudential positivity. Ill-being is not only about what one can’t be or do in life, but also often about what one can’t help but to be and do.

Online seminar in Zoom. Link for participation will be sent to all members of the distribution list a few days before the seminar. Contact Pär Sundström if you are not on that list and wish to participate.

Staff photo Sebastian Östlund
Sebastian Östlund
Doctoral student
Read about Sebastian Östlund
Pär Sundström
Read about Pär Sundström