Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts, the whole of which is an article by Martha Nussbaum. The article, entitled "Women’s Bodies: Violence, Security, Capabilities," appeared in the Journal of Human Development (Vol. 6, No. 2, July 2005). Comments are encouraged on parts or on the whole.
Refining the capabilities approach
Conceptually, then, the capabilities approach is well placed to diagnose, analyze, and address the problems of violence against women. That is of course no accident, since in both Sen’s formulation and in my own the approach was developed with women’s capabilities prominently in view and with women’s equality a central goal. Now, however, I would like to argue that there are some further philosophical developments and refinements that the approach requires if it is to address these issues in a perspicuous and helpful way. I see three such developments.