Capabilitarianism without Paternalism?

Public Reason 10 (1) (2018)
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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.



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Jens Peter Brune
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald

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The idea of justice.Amartya Sen - 2009 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What is the point of equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Inequality Reexamined.Amartya Sen - 1927 - Oxford University Press UK.

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