An Agency‐Based Capability Theory of Justice

European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1279-1304 (2017)

Rutger Claassen
Utrecht University
The capability approach is one of the main contenders in the field of theorizing social justice. Each citizen is entitled to a set of basic capabilities. But which are these? Martha Nussbaum formulated a set of ten central capabilities. Amartya Sen argued they should be selected in a process of public reasoning. Critics object that the Nussbaum-approach is too perfectionist and the Sen-approach is too proceduralist. This paper presents a third alternative: a substantive but non-perfectionist capability theory of justice. It presents a two-level concept of individual agency as connected to social practices. It then argues basic capabilities are those necessary to for the agency necessary to navigate freely and autonomously between different social practices.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12195
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,545
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 Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Playing for Social Equality.Lasse Nielsen - 2018 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (4):427-446.
Justice as a Claim to Property.Rutger Claassen - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-15.
What is Wrong with Sufficiency?Lasse Nielsen - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (1):21-38.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Capability Approach to Justice as a Virtue.Jay Drydyk - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):23-38.
Capabilitarianism.Ingrid Robeyns - forthcoming - Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.
Sen is Not a Capability Theorist.Antoinette Baujard & Muriel Gilardone - 2017 - Journal of Economic Methodology 24 (1):1-19.
Critical Capability Pedagogies and University Education.Melanie Walker - 2010 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (8):898-917.
Why Health Matters to Justice: A Capability Theory Perspective.Lasse Nielsen - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):403-415.
Rights, Goals, and Capabilities.M. van Hees - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 12 (3):247-259.
Dignity, Capability, and Profound Disability.John Vorhaus - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (3):462-478.
Is Pogge a Capability Theorist in Disguise?Ilse Oosterlaken - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):205-215.


Added to PP index

Total views
60 ( #122,166 of 2,325,363 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #265,227 of 2,325,363 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature