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CPP Colloquium with Sander Werkhoven: A Procedural Approach to the Value of Capabilities

  • Sander Werkhoven (Utrecht)
Thursday 12 May 2016
CPP Colloquia 2015-2016 & 2016-2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


In this talk I will address what is generally considered to be the Achilles heel of the capabilities approach to human development and justice, as developed mainly by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. Taking people’s capabilities as the focal point of various forms of normative political analyses requires identifying whichfunctionings and capabilities are indeed valuable, worthy of protection and promotion, and essential to evaluations of well-being. Various answers to this question have been published in recent years, to which I will add a new one in this paper. On the view I shall develop the value of a capability depends on the quantitative increase it conditions for further capabilities. I will argue that this view opens a middle way between taking expansions of capabilities to be unreservedly good and taking the value of capability expansions to depend entirely on an additional valuative moment. I will end with a note to Carter’s critique that the capability approach remains inherently paternalistic.

About Sander Werkhoven

Sander Werkhoven is a lecturer in the department of philosophy and religious studies at Utrecht University. In 2015 he obtained his PhD from the University of Warwick with a thesis dealing with questions about the nature of health and pathology. His research interests include philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, ethics and meta-ethics, philosophy of agency and Post-Kantian philosophy (especially Nietzsche).

All are welcome!

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