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POLI-1007EL Study Guide - Quiz Guide: Capability Approach, Intp, Martha Nussbaum

Political Science / Science politique
Course Code
Michael Johns
Study Guide

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Global Justice
Thom Brooks Global Justice and Politics
- first approach
o positive duties to assis those in need
o we have a duty to assist where there are others in need irrespective of
whether or not we contributed to their situation
o it only matters that others have such needs
o two different ways to understand ur positive duties
Singer : weighing the relevan t potential moral costs of action
versus inaction
Often most pressing problems seem too distant to relate to us
It is not the space between us that has significance but rather the
relative moral weights of our possible actions
Balance of moral costs of rescuer and rescued and not the space
between them
Should aim to prevent what is bad where we are able to prevent it
Moral weiging receives special impotance
Material cost to me in providing rescue has little significance (e.g.
muddy clothes when rescuing a child)
If the moral cost of providing relief for us is less than the moral
cost to others if we failed to do so then we morally ought to provide
Amertya Sen and Martha Nussbaum
All human beings should have the ability to exercise
capabilities irrespective of where they live
GDP is inappropriate because a rise in per capita wealth
may mask large inequalities of wealth: the average wealth
might be increasing but the wealth of most in the population
could be decreasing
GDP compares the development of all societies along a
shared continuum their relative wealth per capita
Rather focus on the capabilitiy of people in a society rather
than purely on their relative material wealth
E.G fasting and starving man bothlack food but there is a
crucial difference: the amn who is fasting possesses the
capability to eat but the starving man lacks it
Capability approach is focused on our freedom to exercise
different kinds of opportunities relating to our well-being
Freedom of choice
Capabilitiy to x vs NUSSBAUM capabilities to x
Social minimum in terms of capabilities and not resources
Ten capabilities
Life, bodily health and integrity, sense, imagination and
thought, emotions, practical reason, affiliation, play, control
over ones environment
Respect for human dignity requires that citizens are to be
placed above and eample threshold of capability
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