The main source for this webpage is: The use of underscore for emphasis is mine, unless otherwise explicitly noted. As such it appears to start from a somewhat stronger assumption that might strike Rawls as metaphysical rather than political. The Basic Idea about Human Beings Martha Nussbaum affirms a "liberal" view that is compatible with the feminist affirmation of the value of women as persons.
Initially, Sen argued for five components in assessing capability: The importance of real freedoms in the assessment of a person's advantage Individual differences in the ability to transform resources into valuable activities The multi-variate nature of activities giving rise to happiness A balance of materialistic and nonmaterialistic factors in evaluating human welfare Concern for the distribution of opportunities within society Subsequently, and in collaboration particularly with political philosopher Martha Nussbaumdevelopment economist Sudhir Anand and economic theorist James Foster, Sen has helped to make the capabilities approach predominant as a paradigm for policy debate in human development where it inspired the creation of the UN's Human Development Index a popular measure of human development, capturing capabilities in health, education, and income.
In addition, the approach has been operationalised with a high income country focus by Paul Anand and colleagues. The approach emphasizes functional capabilities "substantive freedoms", such as the ability to live to old age, engage in economic transactions, or participate in political activities ; these are construed in terms of the substantive freedoms people have reason to value, instead of utility happinessdesire-fulfillment or choice or access to resources incomecommodities, assets.
Poverty is understood as capability-deprivation. It is noteworthy that the emphasis is not only on how humans actually function but also on their having the capability, which is a practical choice, "to achieve outcomes that they value and have reason to value".
This approach to human well-being emphasizes the importance of freedom of choice, individual heterogeneity and the multi-dimensional nature of welfare.
In significant respects, the approach is consistent with the handling of choice within conventional microeconomics consumer theoryalthough its conceptual foundations enable it to acknowledge the existence of claims, like rights, which normatively dominate utility-based claims see Sen Functionings[ edit ] In the most basic sense, functionings consist of "beings and doings".
Essentially, functionings are the states and activities constitutive of a person's being. Examples of functionings can vary from elementary things, such as being healthy, having a good job, and being safe, to more complex states, such as being happy, having self-respect, and being calm.
Moreover, Amartya Sen contends that functionings are crucial to an adequate understanding of the capability approach; capability is conceptualized as a reflection of the freedom to achieve valuable functionings. Therefore, a person's chosen combination of functionings, what they are and do, is part of their overall capability set — the functionings they were able to do.
Yet, functionings can also be conceptualized in a way that signifies an individual's capabilities. Eatingstarvingand fasting would all be considered functionings, but the functioning of fasting differs significantly from that of starving because fasting, unlike starving, involves a choice and is understood as choosing to starve despite the presence of other options.
Capabilities[ edit ] Capabilities are the alternative combinations of functionings that are feasible for a person to achieve. Formulations of capability have two parts: The important part of this definition is the "freedom to achieve", because if freedom had only instrumental value valuable as a means to achieve an end and no intrinsic value valuable in and of itself to a person's well-being, then the value of the capability set as a whole would simply be defined by the value of a person's actual combination of functionings.
Consequently, the capability set outlined by this approach is not merely concerned with achievements; rather, freedom of choicein and of itself, is of direct importance to a person's quality of life. In sum, having a lifestyle is not the same as choosing it; well-being depends on how that lifestyle came to be.
This book explores the interconnected concepts of person, responsibility and freedom in economics, moral philosophy and politics.
It tries to reconcile the rationality and morality of individuals. It presents a methodological reflection phenomenology versus Kantian thought with the aim to re-humanise the person, through actions, and through the values and norms that lead to corresponding rights and obligations that must be ordered.
The book extends the capabilities approach in a critical form. In particular, it considers freedom in relation to responsibility, that is, the capacity of people to apply moral constraints to themselves.
By contrast, Sen's capability approach considers freedom as a purely functional rationality of choice. Agency[ edit ] Amartya Sen defines an agent as someone who acts and brings about change, whose achievement can be evaluated in terms of his or her own values and goals.
For example, when a person chooses to engage in fastingthey are exercising their ability to pursue a goal they value, though such a choice may not positively affect physical well-being.
Sen explains that a person as an agent need not be guided by a pursuit of well-being; agency achievement considers a person's success in terms of their pursuit of the whole of their goals.
Therefore, agency is crucial in assessing one's capabilities and any economic, social, or political barriers to one's achieving substantive freedoms. Concern for agency stresses that participationpublic debate, democratic practice, and empowermentshould be fostered alongside well-being. That is, in order to be agents of their lives, people need the freedom to be educated, speak in public without fear, express themselves, associate, etc.
She claims that a political order can only be considered as being decent if this order secures at least a threshold level of these 10 capabilities to all inhabitant. More recently, the approach has been criticized for being grounded in the liberal notion of freedom: Moreover, the emphasis on freedom betrays a profoundly modern orientation.
Both propositions cannot hold. Being able to live to the end of a human life of normal length ; not dying prematurely, or before one's life is so reduced as to be not worth living. Being able to have good healthincluding reproductive health ; to be adequately nourished ; to have adequate shelter.
Being able to move freely from place to place; to be secure against violent assaultincluding sexual assault and domestic violence ; having opportunities for sexual satisfaction and for choice in matters of reproduction.
Senses, Imagination, and Thought. Being able to use the senses, to imagine, think, and reason—and to do these things in a "truly human" way, a way informed and cultivated by an adequate educationincluding, but by no means limited to, literacy and basic mathematical and scientific training.
Being able to use imagination and thought in connection with experiencing and producing works and events of one's own choice, religious, literary, musical, and so forth.In simple terms, the distinction between the capabilities approach and the primary goods approach is that capability theorists focus on the ends (heterogeneous individual capabilities) as a measure of justice, while primary goods theorists focus on the means (fair distribution of resources) as a measure of justice.
NUSSBAUM: A UTILITARIAN CRITIQUE Mark S. Stein* Abstract: This Essay offers a utilitarian perspective on Martha Nussbaum’s theory of justice. Nussbaum believes that society should guarantee to every individual a threshold level of central human capabilities. Similarly, Jay Drydyk () has argued that the capability approach to justice should focus on reducing capability shortfalls, for which a utopian account of perfect justice is not needed.
a more recent wave of philosophical enquiry has highlighted how complicated the comparisons between Rawls's theory of justice and the capability view. Indian Economist and Philosopher, Amartya Sen' View of Justice Words | 2 Pages.
Sen mentions that there are two basic views to justice - one is the ‘arrangement-focused’ approach to justice and the other is ‘realization-focused’ approach to justice. The capability approach Amartya Sen, however, argues this view has three main deficiencies: distributional indifference, neglect of rights, Disability and justice: The capabilities approach in practice.
Lexington: Lexington Books / Rowman & Littlefield. Welfarism is the view that goodness should be assessed only in terms of subjective utility. Sen argues that welfarism exhibits both ‘valuational neglect’ and ‘physical condition neglect’.
From a justice perspective, the capability approach’s relevance here is to argue that if people are falling short on a particular capability.