Humanity, virtue, justice: a framework for a capability approach


This Thesis reconsiders the prospects for an approach to global justice centring on the proposal that every human being should possess a certain bundle of goods, which would include certain members of a distinctive category: the category of capabilities. My overall aim is to present a clarified and well-developed framework, within which such claims can be made. To do this, I visit a number of regions of normative and metanormative theorising. I begin by introducing the motivations for the capability approach, and clarifying some of its most distinctive features. Next, I focus on Martha Nussbaum's version of the approach, and identify several problems therein. The most important concerns epistemology, and especially the challenges that constructivist theories pose. The middle part of the Thesis presents an alternative, based on the work of John McDowell, which I argue has superior prospects. Then, I turn to two further problems: that of making sense of the universalistic aspirations of cosmopolitanism, and that of integrating the microscopic prescriptions of ethics with the macroscopic analyses of political philosophy. Using the Aristotelian interpretation of its core framework that I have developed, I conclude that the capability approach can provide compelling answers to important questions about global justice.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,931

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Why the capability approach is justified.Sandrine Berges - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):16–25.
A Capability Approach to Justice as a Virtue.Jay Drydyk - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):23-38.
Critical Capability Pedagogies and University Education.Melanie Walker - 2010 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (8):898-917.
Why Health Matters to Justice: A Capability Theory Perspective.Lasse Nielsen - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):403-415.
Poverty and Freedom.Gottfried Schweiger & Gunter Graf - 2014 - Human Affairs 24 (2):258-268.
Capabilities versus Resources.J. Paul Kelleher - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (4):151-171.
Biomedical Enhancements as Justice.Jeesoo Nam - 2013 - Bioethics 29 (2):126-132.


Added to PP

100 (#177,708)

6 months
14 (#201,098)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ben Bessey
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.

View all 280 references / Add more references