Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (4):500-520 (2012)

Linda Barclay
Monash University
Theories of distributive justice are often criticised for either excluding people with disabilities from the domain of justice altogether, or casting them as deficient in personal attributes. I argue that the capabilities approach to justice is largely immune to these flaws. It has the conceptual resources to locate most of the causes of disadvantage in the interaction between a person and her environment and in doing so can characterise the disadvantages of disability in a way that avoids the imputation of natural deficiency. However, I also argue that the capabilities approach cannot accommodate some of the stronger claims advanced by some disability scholars. No plausible capabilities approach can guarantee that social change will always be the just or fair remedy for disadvantage, and there is a small number of severe cases of disability where capability shortfalls will be attributed to the person’s ‘deficient’ physical and mental impairments.
Keywords Disability   capabilities   Nussbaum   distributive justice
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/174552412X628823
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare.Richard J. Arneson - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 56 (1):77 - 93.
Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare.Richard Arneson - 1997 - In Louis P. Pojman & Robert Westmoreland (eds.), Equality: Selected Readings. Oup Usa.
Can the Capability Approach Be Justified?Thomas W. Pogge - 2002 - Philosophical Topics 30 (2):167-228.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Le concept de vulnérabilité et l’inclusion politique des personnes ayant une déficience intellectuelle.Bernard Gagnon & Olivier Clément-Sainte-Marie - 2019 - Alter - European Journal of Disability Research / Revue Européenne de Recherche Sur le Handicap 13 (3):192-206.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Disability, Respect and Justice.Linda Barclay - 2010 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (2):154-171.
Framing Social Justice in Education: What Does the 'Capabilities' Approach Offer?Melanie Walker - 2003 - British Journal of Educational Studies 51 (2):168 - 187.
A Capability Approach to Justice as a Virtue.Jay Drydyk - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):23-38.
Defining Disability: Metaphysical Not Political.Christopher A. Riddle - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (3):377-384.
Virtue Ethics in Business and the Capabilities Approach.Alexander Bertland - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 84 (S1):25 - 32.


Added to PP index

Total views
153 ( #77,583 of 2,519,312 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #407,861 of 2,519,312 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes