Public Reason 10 (1) (2018)

Jens Peter Brune
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald
Despite the exceptional growth of interest in the Capability Approach in specific fields of application, the approach has yet to clarify certain basic concepts, such as freedom, functioning, and, in particular, its key concept of capability. Taking two basic tenets of CA as my starting point, I would first of all like to contribute to the clarification of these central concepts. It thereby becomes apparent that “capability” is, on the one hand, an essentially hybrid concept with both an internal and external aspect. On the other hand, it addresses the freedom of choice between various lifestyles as a second-order competency. Against this background, this paper offers a suggestion to correct the terminology used by Martha C. Nussbaum in her concept of capability, and subsequently it will outline a basic model of the transformation of resources into forms of being and activities with reference to Ingrid Robeyns. In conclusion I will couple this rather static perspective with two critical points: First of all, a more dynamic view reveals hitherto barely considered aspects of freedom in everyday human lives. Secondly, the idea of capabilities opposes the attempt at a separation of capabilities from functions in order to avoid paternalism, as suggested by Nussbaum.
Keywords capabilities, functionings, substantial freedom, 2nd order competence, paternalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,066
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Idea of Justice.Amartya Kumar Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Inequality Reexamined.Amartya Kumar Sen - 1992 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Capabilitarianism.Ingrid Robeyns - forthcoming - Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.
Capabilities for All?Jessica Begon - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):154-179.
Poverty and Freedom.Gottfried Schweiger & Gunter Graf - 2014 - Human Affairs 24 (2):258-268.
From Primary Goods to Capabilities.Eric Nelson - 2008 - Political Theory 36 (1):93-122.
Rights, Goals, and Capabilities.Martin van Hees - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 12 (3):247-259.
An Agency‐Based Capability Theory of Justice.Rutger Claassen - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1279-1304.


Added to PP index

Total views
7 ( #1,063,666 of 2,498,770 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #422,193 of 2,498,770 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes