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Discussing: Capability Approach and Social Justice

October 15, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

The reading this time is an essay by Martha C. Nussbaum, “ CAPABILITIES AS FUNDAMENTAL
ENTITLEMENTS: SEN AND SOCIAL JUSTICE”. In this she discusses the capability approach and Amartya Sen’s theory of social justice. She supports Sen’s idea, that capabilities supply guidance superior to that of utility and resources. Their argument against using utilities is that, ‘adaptive preferences’ would bias the development process in favour of the status quo.

Nussbaum says that the capabilities approach is especially pertinent to issues of sex equality.

But for this to actually work she argues for the formulation of “a definite list of the most central capabilities, even one that is tentative and revisable, using capabilities so defined to elaborate a partial account of social justice, a set of basic entitlements without which no society can lay claim to justice.” This essay contain that list and we can discuss those further.

She discusses the advantages of the capabilities approach over rights approach.

Will gender justice limit male freedom? She says yes and hopefully we can get to discuss this in detail.

Sen’s reason to why we have to put out norms for nations to follow rather than letting them decide on their own?
“some human matters are too important to be left to whim and caprice, or even to the dictates of a cultural tradition.”
What do you think?

It is a long essay but is a fairly easy read.
Here’s a link,

Hoping for a great discussion.
See you on the 15th!


October 15, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Berkeley Books of Paris
8, rue Casimir Delavigne
Paris, 75006 France
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