Theories of Justice (PHIL*3230) | College of Arts

Theories of Justice (PHIL*3230)

Code and section: PHIL*3230*01

Term: Winter 2018

Instructor: Karen Wendling


Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum have pioneered the discussion of capabilities in political philosophy. Developed originally by Sen in the 1980s as an alternative to utilitarian conceptions of welfare, the capabilities approach has two components. First, it defines well-being in terms of capabilities, which are people’s real-life opportunities to do and be things that they value. Second, it claims that the most important aspect of political freedom is individuals’ freedom to develop their capabilities. In this course, we will discuss how Sen and Nussbaum work out the theory in their two recent books, The Idea of Justice by Sen (2011) and Creating Capabilities by Nussbaum (2013).

Course Outline