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Lecture 17

PHIL 335 Lecture 17: April 4, 2018
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5 Pages
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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 335
Professor
Kelin Emmett

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So how can we make judgements and assessments about general wellbeing, especially on
individuals who live in different circumstances and societies that re totally different from our
own? Also, how do we determine inequality for those in different social and cultural contexts?
- So wellbeing
- Inequality
So she doesn’t see wellbeing as a direct measurement of oppression in society.
- It is not a one-to-one correlation.
- If you lack wellbeing, therefore you are oppressed… this is not the case
WHAT SHE THINKS: Whether or not these inequalities are created, or enforced, by a lack of
capability is the evidence of whether or not there is oppression
So how could she claim that women live in these sorts of oppressive spheres, without opposing
western values?????
- CAPABILITIES APPROACH: Compared to other approaches, this one is more
considerate of social and cultural factors.
Many approaches tend to look at how countries are developing, will simply take GDP as a
measurement of development.
- Why is this problematic?
- Not accurate; could have high GDP, but low development in many areas of
country
So why not look at GDP / family unit?
- Well, also problematic.
- Why??? → could still hide the underdeveloped oppressive strategies of families
- Men eat first. Women eat last…
- Etc
What is wrong with individualistic, interviewing approach
- Interview families...
- Are your preference satisfied?
- If we interview one family then interview them again 10 years from now, this is still kind
of problematic. Why?
- Again, people’s preferences are really their own, in a way that they have sort of
been freely developed, through taking this western model…
- When reall,y when dealing with development, many people, especially women, have
preferences that are shaped by cultural traditions, social realities, that might not
necessarily indicate their wellbeing.
- Here, people might say “i don’t want to read.” “I don’t mind eating less.” “I don’t
think that my life is worth as much as a man’s.”
- These preferences, thus, may reflect traditions that are, in fact, unjust.
- Here is a worry, wherethese preferences are NOT in their objective interests.
- But, how can we say that people don’t know, or are not acting in their best
interests? How can we say that their preferences have been shaped by
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oppressive cultural values?
- Utilitarian views do not really view this perspective like this.
Bases of social respect are through wealth and income…
- “Primary bits”
HUGE focus:
What are they capable of doing, and being
- They as in the minorities?
So this is a huge focus on development, but ALSO a theory of justice!!!
- Focusing on capabilities.
So what we need to do, is create a list of CENTRAL CAPABILITIES that are important, and that
indicate a sort of importance that is not diminished, not blocked.
- What is this person able to do and be?
So what capabilities?
- Well, we need to note that this is going to involve a sort of normative judgement to what
is central to human life?
- And it’s going to be controversial.
- But she thinks that 1 sort of guiding way to direct our investigation here, is to answer two
questions:
1. When does a life stop being human?
2. How we characterize lives as human across time/space?
What are the characteristics that all human beings have in common?
→ she comes to a list from these two questions. It is provisional. Non-exhaustive. But it is a
good starter list, that is so particular to each human life… LIST IS ON PAGE 41.
First one is life.
Being able to live, to the end of a human life of normal length. Not dying
prematurely, or life so reduced to not be living.
For example, she has in mind, within various societies, there may groups that
have lower life expectancies, that are due to lower quality and lower levels of
material wealth… these political arrangements are something that we need to
investigate. This is indicating that there needs to be some sort of readjustment of
justice.
Bodily health
Good health, such as reproductive health, nourishment, and adequate shelter
Bodily integrity
Being able to move freely from place to place
Safe from assaults of all sorts and violence
Health and freedom of reproduction
Senses of Imagination and Thought
Being able to use the senses to imagine, to think, and to do them in purely
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So how can we make judgements and assessments about general wellbeing, especially on individuals who live in different circumstances and societies that re totally different from our own? Also, how do we determine inequality for those in different social and cultural contexts? So wellbeing Inequality So she doesnt see wellbeing as a direct measurement of oppression in society. It is not a onetoone correlation. If you lack wellbeing, therefore you are oppressed this is not the case WHAT SHE THINKS: Whether or not these inequalities are created, or enforced, by a lack of capability is the evidence of whether or not there is oppression So how could she claim that women live in these sorts of oppressive spheres, without opposing western values????? CAPABILITIES APPROACH: Compared to other approaches, this one is more considerate of social and cultural factors. Many approaches tend to look at how countries are developing, will simply take GDP as a measurement of development. Why is this problematic? Not accurate; could have high GDP, but low development in many areas of country So why not look at GDP family unit? Well, also problematic. Why??? could still hide the underdeveloped oppressive strategies of families Men eat first. Women eat last Etc What is wrong with individualistic, interviewing approach Interview families... Are your preference satisfied? If we interview one family then interview them again 10 years from now, this is still kind of problematic. Why? Again, peoples preferences are really their own, in a way that they have sort of been freely developed, through taking this western model When reall,y when dealing with development, many people, especially women, have preferences that are shaped by cultural traditions, social realities, that might not necessarily indicate their wellbeing. Here, people might say i dont want to read. I dont mind eating less. I dont think that my life is worth as much as a mans. These preferences, thus, may reflect traditions that are, in fact, unjust. Here is a worry, wherethese preferences are NOT in their objective interests. But, how can we say that people dont know, or are not acting in their best interests? How can we say that their preferences have been shaped by
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