The Basis of Universal Liberal Principles in Nussbaum’s Political Philosophy

Public Reason 2 (2):61-76 (2010)
In her political philosophy, Martha C. Nussbaum defends liberal political principles on the basis of an objective conception of the good of human beings. This paper examines whether her argument succeeds. It identifies three methods to which Nussbaum refers in order to select the central human capabilities, whose exercise is seen as constituting the human good. It asks whether these methods – the interpretation of actual ways of human self-understanding, the search for necessary anthropological features, and the idea of an overlapping consensus – can yield liberal political principles. The paper concludes that it is doubtful that the first two methods will lead to this result. As to the third method, it may yield liberal principles only insofar as it relies on the notion of human dignity which is interpreted in a way that contains a strong view of equality of all human beings. In this way, universal liberal principles are not primarily based on considerations of the human good, but on a genuine moral standpoint.
Keywords Nussbaum  overlapping consensus  liberalism  equality  dignity  capability approach
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,169
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Liberalism Without Perfection.Jonathan Quong - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Martha Nussbaum on Animal Rights.Anders Schinkel - 2008 - Ethics and the Environment 13 (1):pp. 41-69.
By.Craig Duncan - manuscript
Liberalism in Retreat.Douglas B. Rasmussen - 2009 - Review of Metaphysics 62 (4):875-908.
Where Pluralists and Liberals Part Company.John Gray - 1998 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (1):17 – 36.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
20 ( #253,727 of 2,191,923 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #144,931 of 2,191,923 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature