Capabilities

INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ETHICS, pp. 692-698, H. LaFollette, ed., Oxford: Blackwell, 2013

Posted: 26 Nov 2011 Last revised: 11 Apr 2013

Thom Brooks

Durham University

Date Written: November 26, 2011

Abstract

Capabilities concern freedom and human dignity. A capability marks out an ability to do or be. If I possess a capability, then I have the ability to do an action (obtain food, speak freely, etc.) or to become a certain kind of person (self-directing, etc.). A capability is different from actual functioning because I may not choose to perform these actions or become these kinds of people. This approach offers a distinctive view about justice. Part of its focus is on freedom which takes the form of securing opportunities for persons to freely choose to satisfy capabilities. Another focus pertains to human dignity in that securing opportunities for capability satisfaction is thought to also best secure human dignity.

Keywords: capability, capabilities, capabilities approach, sen, Nussbaum, Robeyns, Richardson, freedom, development, feminism, social justice, equality, fairness

JEL Classification: A13, D71, G18, G28, H11, H41, I12, I32, K10, K00, K19, K30

Suggested Citation

Brooks, Thom, Capabilities (November 26, 2011). INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ETHICS, pp. 692-698, H. LaFollette, ed., Oxford: Blackwell, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1964924

Thom Brooks (Contact Author)

Durham University ( email )

Durham Law School
Durham University
Durham, County Durham DH1 3ET
United Kingdom
+441913344365 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?mode=staff&id=11140

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