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close this bookDimensions of Human Development - Research Report on Basic Human Needs Lists (Individual Contributor S. Alkire)
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View the document3. Other Lists: Basic Features of Well-Being - Values sought by all individuals - & societies - Primary Goods - Comparative Scandanavian Welfare Study - Intermediate Needs - Dimensions of Deprivation - Concern Clusters - Prudential Values - True Worlds


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Finnis et al's identification of dimensions of human development: 4 criteria In 1987, Grisez, Finnis and Boyle published a paper which proposes a simple method to deliberate disagreements about components of lists of well-being. Their argument presupposes that the identification of reasons for action is an exercise of practical reason: that determining the dimensions of human well-being requires persons to recognise, on the basis of their own experience, the truthfulness of the particular claims. The first step in resolving disagreement is to propose a/some dimensions of human development which may have been overlooked (or to identify one of the basic reasons for action/dimensions which should be eliminated). If the proposed new dimension has been recognised as valuable reason for acting using practical reason it will be possible to engage in a theoretical evaluative discussion to support or challenge any item in the set as, in fact, being a dimension of human flourishing or capability. Four lines of theoretical evaluation are possible. 1. The first is to suggest that a proposed element of the set is not intrinsically valuable but is actually instrumentally valuable - that it is only a means to pursuing some other dimension on the list ('only' is an important qualification because some basic items - like knowledge - will also have an instrumental dimension). 2. The second is to suggest that an element of the set is actually part of some other dimension. 3. The third is to suggest that the proposed element is a not an intelligible basic reason for acting, but rather a non-intelligible basic motive which is only intelligible when its pursuit coheres with the pursuit of a valuable proposal. 4. The fourth is to suggest that the proposed element is a not a basic reason for acting but rather a personal quality (dignity, virtue, self-respect) which embraces all aspects. If the proposed element is neither a means to nor a subset of another dimension, and if it is intelligibly a basic reason for acting, then it should be accepted as a dimension of human flourishing. 1987 p 111-113