Circumstance, Materialism and Possibilism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the modern, multimedia world it is common to think about ways of life as entirely voluntary innovations — as Mill (1998, 71) put it, ‘experiments in living’. Cultural diversity is often considered in a rather superficial manner — the ‘“sari, samosa and steelband” variety of multiculturalism’, detailed and derided by Alibhai-Brown (2004, 231) — in which choice of lifestyle is dependent only upon personal preference, perception and taste. In Sen and Nussbaum, the obstacles to the free development and expression of preferences seem primarily to be social, rather than natural. Relativist or social constructivist approaches — such as those of Edwards et al. (1995) — have rejected realist accounts of the physical environment and suggested that our constraints in this world are imposed by the meanings which guide our perception.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvaluating Culture
Subtitle of host publicationWell-Being, Institutions and Circumstance
EditorsMatthew Thomas Johnson
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781137313799
ISBN (Print)9781349333769, 9780230296565
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


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