Cultural issues: A lens into Nussbaum?s capability approach


Nandini Bhasin*

In this paper, I will discuss Martha Nussbaum’s capability approach, not as a procedural justice but as an outcome oriented approach that gives impartial account of justice as welfare. Nussbaum’s account of justice seems to reconcile the account of both Rawls and Sen. What Sen objected in Rawls theory gets affirmed by Nussbaum i.e. Sen criticized Rawls for focusing his attention on institutional choices, and bringing forth the theory of justice which is arrangement focused rather than realization focused. Rawls arrangement focused approach to justice proceeds in two fold ways, namely; (i) public criterion, which stipulates that the conception of justice must be public and the necessary information to make a claim of injustice must be verifiable by all, and easily accessible. (ii) A public standard of interpersonal comparisons as the obtained principles of justice among the citizens with diverse conception of the good life will not prove stable. These two points of public criterion and public standard seems to be affirmed by Nussbaum in her account on capability approach to justice. Nussbaum’s account is a principled account of a set of, ten fundamental human capabilities which are held to be essential to a good human life and government in all nations should guarantee to their citizens.

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