Measuring Justice: Primary Goods and Capabilities

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This book brings together a team of leading theorists to address the question 'What is the right measure of justice?' Some contributors, following Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, argue that we should focus on capabilities, or what people are able to do and to be. Others, following John Rawls, argue for focussing on social primary goods, the goods which society produces and which people can use. Still others see both views as incomplete and complementary to one another. Their essays evaluate the two approaches in the light of particular issues of social justice—education, health policy, disability, children, gender justice—and the volume concludes with an essay by Amartya Sen, who originated the capabilities approach.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...these highly technical essays show how matters of gender, disability, and being a child may affect the overall assessment regarding which theory should prevail. This book should seriously challenge sophisticated readers... Recommended..."
--A. S. Rosenbaum, Cleveland State University, CHOICE

"...The editors, Harty Brighouse and Ingrid Robeyns, open the collection with a brisk and helpful general introduction that sets up the debate and provides a summary of the nine central chapters of the book.... it is a virtue of this collection that it accomplishes its focused aim in a rigorous and sustained fashion, and it is a very valuable contribution of this volume as a whole that it should make both camps in this debate more reflective about what their distinctive claims are."
--Serena Olsaretti, ICREA, Pompue Fabra Umiversity and University of Cambridge, Social Theory and Practice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521884518
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2010
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Brighouse is Professor of Philosophy and Affiliate Professor of Education Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His previous publications include On Education (2006). He was co-editor for The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism (Cambridge, 2005).

Ingrid Robeyns is Professor of Practical Philosophy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She was co-editor for Amartya Sen's Work and Ideas: A Gender Perspective (2005).

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Table of Contents

List of contributors vii

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction: Social primary goods and capabilities as metrics of justice Ingrid Robeyns and Harry Brighouse 1

Part I Theory 15

2 A critique of the capability approach Thomas Pogge 17

3 Equal opportunity, unequal capability Erin Kelly 61

4 Justifying the capabilities approach to justice Elizabeth Anderson 81

5 Two cheers for capabilities Richard J. Arneson 101

Part II Applications 129

6 Capabilities, opportunity, and health Norman Daniels 131

7 What metric of justice for disabled people? Capability and disability Lorella Terzi 150

8 Primary goods, capabilities, and children Colin M. Macleod 174

9 Education for primary goods or for capabilities? Harry Brighouse Elaine Unterhalter 193

10 Gender and the metric of justice Ingrid Robeyns 215

Part III Concluding Essay 237

11 The place of capability in a theory of justice Amartya Sen 239

Index 254

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