© 2019

Agency, Freedom and Choice


  • Highlights the essential role of freedom’s agency value in political and moral philosophy

  • Contains a new and surprising argument for a value-based approach to overall freedom based on problems usually raised against

  • It brings together the depth of philosophical insights on overall freedom with the rigour of axiomatic analysis reveals hidden assumptions in the literature on freedom rankings

  • Rational choice theory shows important implications of agency for the evaluation of human development with the capability approach


Part of the Theory and Decision Library A: book series (TDLA, volume 53)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Constanze Binder
    Pages 1-21
  3. Constanze Binder
    Pages 43-61
  4. Constanze Binder
    Pages 63-84
  5. Constanze Binder
    Pages 85-104
  6. Constanze Binder
    Pages 105-127
  7. Constanze Binder
    Pages 129-133
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 135-159

About this book


In this book, Binder shows that at the heart of the most prominent arguments in favour of value-neutral approaches to overall freedom lies the value freedom has for human agency and development. Far from leading to the adoption of a value-neutral approach, however, ascribing importance to freedom’s agency value requires one to adopt a refined value-based approach. Binder employs an axiomatic framework in order to develop such an approach. She shows that a focus on freedom’s agency value has far reaching consequences for existing results in the freedom ranking literature: it requires one to move beyond a person’s given all-things-considered preferences to the values underlying a person’s preference formation. Furthermore, it requires, as Binder argues, one to account (only) for those differences between choice options which really matter to people.   Binder illustrates the implications of her analysis for the evaluation of public policy and human development with the capability approach: only if sufficient importance is ascribed to freedom’s agency value can the capability approach keep its promises. ​  


Agency Agency Value of Freedom Choice Freedom Rankings Rational Choice Rationality

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus Institute of Philosophy and Economics, Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

About the authors

Constanze Binder is Assistant Professor in Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Co-Director of the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics and Programme Director of the Research Master programme in Philosophy and Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Constanze studied Economics and Environmental System Science at Graz University and obtained a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Groningen. She previously taught in the Philosophy Departments of Groningen and Leiden University, worked at the Economics Department of the University of Osnabrück, and contributed to projects for the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Environment and the Austrian Human Dimensions Program. Constanze’s research is on the interface of philosophy and economics, with a particular focus on the analysis of freedom, responsibility and distributive justice in political philosophy and welfare economics, as well as on the ethics of individual and collective decision making in politics and economics. 

Bibliographic information