Pero esto resulta insuficiente para dar respuesta a un conjunto de problemas de justicia urgentes en el mundo actual, que provocan unas reprobables desigualdades en la sociedad. Las fronteras de la justicia. Muchos de ellos lo hicieron antes que Martha Nussbaum. Como consecuencia de ello, Singer contempla la necesidad de que los animales sean considerados moralmente iguales a los seres humanos. Singer mide la bondad y maldad de una conducta por las consecuencias.

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Ingrid Robeyns: Review of Creating Capabilities. Nussbaum Martha C. This is not an easy task, given the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of the capabilities approach. Nussbaum describes the capabilities approach as a new theoretical paradigm in the development and policy world, which poses the questions: "What are people actually able to do and to be?

The first chapter offers, through the narrative of the life of Vasanti, a poor Indian woman, an illustration of how the capability approach conducts social evaluations.

The two purposes which Nussbaum distinguishes are obviously closely related, and she argues that both share some essential elements: 1 the principle to treat each person as an end, rather than looking at averages; 2 to focus on choice or freedom rather than achievements; 3 to be pluralist about value, which entails that different capabilities are incommensurable; 4 to be deeply concerned with entrenched social injustice and inequality; and 5 to give a clear task to government and public policy pp.

Nussbaum uses the capabilities approach in constructing a theory of basic social justice. As we know from her previous work, Nussbaum has developed a theory of universal fundamental political entitlements. These entitlements impose duties on governments, who must ensure that all people meet minimal thresholds of those capabilities.

In addition to the use of the capabilities approach for thinking about social justice, the approach has also been used by Amartya Sen for purposes of quality of life assessment, which also led to a change of the development debate most famously illustrated by the analyses presented in the Human Development Reports. Chapter 3 elaborates in more detail the capabilities approach as a development theory and gives an overview of the work that Amartya Sen and his collaborators have been doing in development economics.

It would have been informative for the readers, though, if more had been said on the capability-like initiatives that have already been developed in recent years: more and more economists are trying to measure capabilities or decent proxies , more and more statistical offices are interested in the approach and trying to see what difference it makes in practice.

Moreover, significant progress has been made by the economists of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative to develop multi-dimensional poverty measures. It would have been good for an introduction to the capability approach to at least have flagged this work on measurement and the increasing acknowledgement of the capability framework by economists, since the results of their studies are one important way to judge to what extent the capability approach makes a difference in practice.

Chapter 4 then moves on to discuss a number of philosophical questions in what Nussbaum regards as the second pillar of the capability approach, namely, a theory of social justice. Nussbaum provides a helicopter view of the many philosophical questions that need to be addressed if one wants to develop a capability theory of justice: the selection of relevant capabilities, the question of justification, its differences with informed-desire accounts of welfarism and with social contract theories, and questions of stability and implementation.

Nussbaum also includes a few pages on the question whether the capability approach should be seen as a deontological approach or rather as a consequentialist theory.

The exact characterization of the capability approach is an interesting philosophical question, but, in my view, it is also a question that is highly unlikely to interest the broad and non-specialist readership of this book. Moreover, from a scholarly-philosophical point of view much more needs to be said on this issue than is possible in an introductory book. For example, does the capability approach fit the categories of deontological vs. Some guidebooks of ethical theory classify theories as deontological, consequentialist, or as being an alternative to these two dominant families.

Perhaps the capability approach, at its most general level, belongs to the latter category? In the following chapters, Nussbaum discusses a range of questions that have been much discussed in the capability literature or are of special importance for this field.

Chapter 8 surveys a number of topics and issues that have recently been taken up by scholars working on the capabilities approach, such as disadvantage in affluent societies; gender issues; disability, ageing and the importance of care; education; animal entitlements; environmental questions; and constitutional law.

The book has two appendices, which are both, for very different reasons, quite intriguing, although they will be mainly of interest to scholars. So I am puzzled as to why Heckman should be considered a privileged discussion partner for capability scholars. In educational studies capability scholars have at length and in great detail explained why we should move from a human capital to a human capability framework if we want to move beyond an economic approach to education.

Nussbaum believes that by focusing on capabilities rather than functionings and by giving some capabilities, such as practical reason, a central place on her list of fundamental entitlements, that there is no need for the distinction between agency freedom and well-being freedom. Instead, she argues, "because what is valued is the freedom to do or not to do, agency is woven throughout" p.

Yet many philosophers working on the capability approach, such as David Crocker, have endorsed the distinction between well-being and agency and find it a useful distinction. To my mind, there is epistemic value in separating the well-being of those people from their agency. Hence I do find agency versus well-being a useful distinction, both to understand personal choices but also to analyze population-level phenomena, such as the decrease in well-being of informal intensive care-givers who have made a deliberate choice to provide care by themselves rather than having someone else care for their dependents.

Yet introductory books, especially those written by leading scholars in the field, tend to skew the understanding of a theory toward their own favorite interpretation. It is important to highlight that other understandings are also around. In my discussion of the chapters I have already pointed at some aspects where not everyone would agree with the interpretation that is given inCreating Capabilities.

Yet in my view the most significant point of disagreement may well be the description of the capabilities approach itself. Nussbaum sees it as a theory with two legs -- theorizing about social justice on the one hand, and comparative quality of life assessment on the other. In the former she is the most prolific author, in the latter Sen is the most canonical figure. By describing the capability approach as being either focused on social justice or on comparative quality of life issues, Nussbaum is not sufficiently recognizing the large variety of ways in which the approach is currently already used and is underestimating its potential.

To my mind, the capability approach should be defined in more general and abstract terms, as a theory with a scope potentially as wide reaching as utilitiarianism. Recall that Nussbaum argues that these are the following elements: 1 to treat each person as an end, rather than looking at averages; 2 to focus on choice or freedom rather than achievements; 3 to be pluralist about value, which entails that different capabilities are incommensurable; 4 to be deeply concerned with entrenched social injustice and inequality; and 5 to give a clear task to government and public policy.

Yet I think this suggests a consensus that does not exist. This enlargement of the scope of the capability approach could drastically increase the contribution it can make to non-ideal theorizing of justice and development, as well as to ethical theory and practice in general.


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