The Virtue of Nussbaum's Essentialism

Metaphilosophy 29 (4):263-272 (1998)
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Abstract

This paper shows that Nussbaum's Aristotelian essentialism effectively combines resources for constructive social criticism (even in “traditional” societies) with concern for the concrete particulars of realized ways of life. Many critics of Nussbaum’s views have failed to appreciate its many virtues in this regard. Yet Nussbaum's confidence in the broad possibilities of internal social criticism demands a better account of the moral openness of human cultures than anything Nussbaum has herself provided. Even Nussbaum's reading of Aristotle – as well as the ethical antirelativism on which it depends – demands a richer account than Nussbaum has so far offered of the essential openness of human world interpretations.

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Author's Profile

Michele Moody-Adams
Columbia University

References found in this work

The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.
Interpretation and Social Criticism.Michael Walzer - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (4):360-373.

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