What makes a life a truly human one Is it possible to make a sort of identification when a life has been so impoverished that it is not worthy of the dignity of the human being Women Culture and Development p74 This is the very question Martha Nussbaum leading female Aristotelian philosopher addresses throughout various pieces of her work What she has tried to do is establish a list of central capabilities that can be convincingly argued to be of central importance in any human life whatever else the person pursues or chooses Women Culture and Development p74 Nussbaums goal is to clarify and develop the so-called capabilities approach an approach to the recognition of the quality of life originally presented by the Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen I intend to evaluate and analyze Nussbaums work on the subject from the perspective of Cicero and the Stoics and that of non-Western thinkers Whats more I hope to set in motion a new conceptualization concerning the assessment and attainment of the good life
In view of the list of capabilities Nussbaum supposes that if a life lacks any of these said capabilities no matter what else it includes the life being examined will not be deemed as a good human life Upon reading the list she has created is most obviously quite extensive and by all means can be seen as generally obtainable but the question at hand is whether or not it is universal Cicero and the Stoics will agree that such a list can be in fact objectively determined but would assess that Nussbaums revision of Amartya Sens original compilation is much too long On the other hand such scholars like Frederique Apffel Marglin would completely disagree with Nussbaums efforts saying that her account of what constitutes a good life is culturally biased imposing Western thought upon a non-Western way of life Specific human relationships within Nussbaums system are neglected resulting in an inherently narrow concept of the whole From evaluating Marglins perspec
tive one can see that she believes that any list that is put together is going to be culturally biased no matter what It is a complicated task to try to accomplish The quality of life in a individuals is defined in terms of social indicators IE nutrition crime rates frequency of disease air quality health care divorce rates education etc The difficulty in evaluating the quality of life lies within the realm of knowing how to appraise each factor concerned For example to utilize a simplistic illustration is clean drinking water more or less important than good education in our schools One way of achieving a cohesive index would be to define the quality of life as a subjective measure of a perceived satisfaction or dissatisfaction within a life Nevertheless is it possible to conceive of circumstances in which the perceived satisfaction could vary quite independently of what we regard as the quality of life I definitely believe this is an avoidable factor Well being is said to be both a condition of the good life as well as what the good life achieves It can be defined as a flourishing it is bound with the very ideas that constitute human happiness The phrase good life itself is ambiguous It can be looked at in terms of a morally good life versus the life most aspire to achieve It is important to note that this idea includes solace and satisfaction This ambiguity can be taken as an indication of how unclear we ultimately find the connection between being morally good and possessing health wealth happiness and other components of well being Before we delve into this naively let us first document in some detail Martha Nussbaums re-evaluation of Sens opus so that we can better understand the material with which we have to work
All human beings have an aversion to fatality Nevertheless if a human being came in contact with an immortal being or even a mortal being with no fear or concern for death one would form an opinion concluding that the appearance of life would be so unlike hisher own that the being in question could not be recognized as human
The events of the body are formed based upon each culture The importance that is reflected upon each occurrence is also culturally shaped according to ones cultural connotations However the body itself not culturally modified when it comes to nutrition and other so-called necessities sets limits on what can be experienced and valued These obvious limitations create a vast amount of intersecting common characteristics between them
All human beings need food and drink in order to survive The experience of appetites is to some extent culturally established For example some people gorge themselves thinking they are hungry when in fact they are not In normal situations human beings do not try to be either hungry or thirsty
Human beings are susceptible to the conditions Mother Nature offers Life for humans is concerned with the acquisition of protection and is done so through clothing and somewhere to live
This attribute is needed to a lesser degree however its importance cannot be overlooked This essential element helps to form an imperative understanding with other human beings different from ourselves
Human beings can be classified as creatures that have the ability to move from place to place either on their own or with the aid of other tools If one were to come across an individual who is capable of such movement and chooses not move one would not easily be able to envision such a being as human
Capacity for Pleasure and Pain
The experiences of pleasure and pain are universal to all of human life What is diverse in each human life is not only the expression of such emotions but also so is the experience itself which may in fact be culturally shaped
Cognitive Capability Perceiving Imagining and Thinking
All human beings have a capacity to perceive the world around them through the assistance of the five senses In addition they have the ability to imagine and to think What needs to be evaluated is what kind of impairment to any of these areas is needed before we begin to question the humaneness of anygiven life For us to imagine a human life that totally lacks all sensory perception imagination reasoning or even thinking in general is a difficult task even if that individual may appear to be a human being
The proper rearing of a child is crucial in the creation of desires and of complex emotions including love anger and grief These necessities are the major source of ones ability to recognize himselfherself in the emotional experiences of those who are vastly different from themselves If we were to find an individual who had never experienced being a child we would most definitely assume that hisher life was reasonably different from our own and would consider himher a part of the same group
Taking into consideration that an individual can try to put forth any amount of effort to manage his or her own welfare finding out which circumstances will bring about a good quality outcome and which will not can determine an individuals ability to reason practically as a human being
Affiliation with other Human Beings
Our lives as human beings are lived in comparison to other human beings Aristotle claimed that all human beings defined themselves in terms of at least two kinds of relationships either personal or social Each of these associations with another human being helps the other sense the relationship and recognizes ones concern for other human beings
Relatedness to other Species and to Nature
Human beings are capable of acknowledging that they are not the only species on the planet they occupy They have a vast understanding that they are only a cog in the wheel of life The universe is a complex interlocking order that supports and limits human beings We as humans can appreciate the respect that is due to our surroundings and those who differ from us which inhabit it
Any given human life is enhanced with the ability to make time for recreational activities and laughter Ways in which each is performed varies from person to person as well as culture to culture We as humans are competent in possessing a mutual recognition for each individual When it becomes visible that an individual is incapable of playing or laughing correctly one assumes there is present some type of disturbance within that specific life If indeed this condition becomes permanent we begin to question whether a fully human life is a possibility for this individual
We as human beings can recognize that we are only one of many but we still individually struggle to gain footing in this world of our own volition We feel our own pain and happiness not any one elses We can identify one person as not being the same as another
Humans having an intelligence to help distinguish one individual from another also possess the reason to establish a strong separateness between the two There is not an existing environment that is lacking the word mine There are however different degrees of its use throughout different cultures
At this point Nussbaum finds herself having to describe two distinct forms of human life She has taken each and established that they are on opposite ends of the spectrum One life being so impoverished that the life at hand is identified as not human at all and the other to a slightly higher degree is considered human in that it is only lacking to a certain extent The life of the latter circumstance is still acknowledged as a human life however it is not thought of as a good human life Nussbaums view coincides with that of Aristotle in that a good sustaining understanding of human life is one that is in agreement with which anyone who ever they may be might do well and live a prosperous life Each of these two thresholds requires a certain level of resources and opportunities Nussbaums work is clearly influenced by that of Aristotle Before discussing the thresholds in detail I want to outline Aristotles thoughts on the material so far
Aristotle believes that eudemonia is the final goal in life He notes that pleasure is related to happiness but it is not the highest good He feels that pleasure is good if it is for the right reason and not done in excess For example excellent activity is inherently pleasurable to the virtuous person Happiness is the central idea and bodily and rational pleasures are a detail needed to be happy
Aristotle believes that eudemonia is the highest good and it is the final end This means that there is no other end There cannot be a means to another end it is final Eudemonia is happiness It is not a feeling of any sort It is not a fleeting moment it is permanent in Aristotles view There are many components to understand how to achieve eudemonia
We must now determine what the human function is What makes humans different from animals According to Aristotle the soul differentiates us from animals There are two parts of the soul The Rational and Irrational part Animals have the irrational part of the soul but they do not have the rational part of the soul There are two components to the purely irrational soul One is the vegetative soul It functions are growth reproduction taking in nutrients etc The other half is the desiring soul which is also known as the animal soul It can perceive have desires and pursue desires The rational part of the soul is the highest part of the soul and animals do not have this It is the highest part because it is the use of reason that makes us different from the every animal For Aristotle the rational element encompasses two parts one is rational in that is complies with the rule of reason the other in that it possesses and visualizes rational rules What he means
is that the use of reason is understood as an action but acting in a rational way
Aristotle speaks of the many particulars in gaining this happiness The human good is the activity of the soul exhibiting excellence for ones entire life Human excellence is the activity of the soul according to reason We know this because of the human function It is not just having the ability to be virtuous It is the activity not just possessing it Arte is that quality which enables its possessor to perform his own function well Virtue is not a part of the soul Virtue or excellence renders the good There are two types of virtues 1 intellectual and 2 moral Intellectual virtue owes its origin and development chiefly by teaching Intellectual activity may be gained be work experience and learning Moral is formed by habit but Aristotle points out that nothing that exists by nature can be formed by habit Aristotle says good habits should be formed early because it is extremely difficult to change ones habits after they are formed
Aristotles function argument states that our unique human function is the use of reason This is what separates us from animals He calls the man who only identifies with human enjoyment vulgar He calls the man who only attempt in life is to gain honor of other beings political or honorific He calls the man whose life is dedicated to thought contemplative The highest form of life in his eyes is the contemplative life He says that the life of justice is still a good life but it is not the highest life
Aristotle talks about earning the good life by acting according to virtue and reason He also adds that there are some other goods needed to be truly happy The good life also has to do with fairing well It also is necessary to have good external things IE beauty money having good children etc Aristotle believes that if one does not have any bodily pleasures it will impede his work I think that Nussbaum would agree that balance is key He will go on thinking about having these pleasures and not be able to concentrate on his goals We must have bodily pleasures but not in excess
Now we have thus concluded that to be happy one must be active virtuous and also contemplative What about pleasure Is it a bad thing Aristotle says that pain is neither good nor bad nor is pleasure so why should we avoid it Surely the life of a morally good man is no more agreeable than that of anyone else A life without pleasure is hardly a good life It is pleasure that motivates us to act but we must feel pleasure in the right things The just person should feel pleasure when justice is done
There are different types of pleasure There are the pleasures of the body which are good if not done in excess and not done for the wrong reasons Aristotle means that if a man indulges in too much bodily pleasure then his thought will be impeded There are incidental pleasures and natural pleasures Incidental pleasures are moments of pleasure For example when one is vulnerable he might do something to palliate his pain for the moment without reasoning his actions
I agree with Aristotle in his theory of happiness being the highest good Pleasure is merely a means to get to happiness In life we all have goals and dreams that we strive They are our true functions and purposes We have pleasures on the side to make life a little more relaxing and enjoyable Without the opportunity to gain those pleasures a life cannot be good It is in our actions that we accomplish and work toward the end which truly count for something For every different person our goals and occupation may vary that is something that needs to taken into consideration We may attempt to be excellent in different things but we all attempt to be happy One does not want to die knowing that they did not lead a good life Happiness is the highest good Now we must try to establish a balance of all these factors
The first threshold can easily be identified through a series of examples illustrating an existence impoverished beyond humaneness The second breaks down the specific basic functional capabilities As for the first it can be established that there are varied conditions of life previous to death none of which alter the concept of a human life However it is when there are irretrievable facets of the human life in question that Nussbaum addresses Take for example an individual who is diagnosed as being in a permanent state of vegetation where loss of sensation and consciousness come into play They may be incapable of recognizing loved ones and also lack the capacity to reason Can this life still be seen as a good human life Nussbaum takes these matters into consideration and finds that indeed it is a life that is lacking too many of the essential components of human life to be observed as such Another important notion she brings up is the argument of the list of capabilities itself It is a list that stresses the significance of the capabilities to function rather than the actual outcome of the function per say It is this very line of reasoning that should be the goal of society helping to establish an extensive network of great effort and care toward the good of all this is the crucial achievement desired the perfect balance of continuity and originality
The second level is more advanced which is pertaining to specific human functional capabilities Nussbaum separates the resources needed into ten groupings each detailing what an individual has the entitlement to as a human being
1Being able to live a human life of average duration which means not dying prematurely or before it is a life so depleted that it is not worth living
2Being in good health as far as they are adequately nourished and have sufficient housing possessing the capacity for sexual fulfillment and to make decisions in the matters of reproduction
3Being able to stay away from unnecessary pain and to achieve pleasurable experiences
4Being able to take advantage of the five senses having the ability to think and imagine in respect to thinking logically as a result of education Being able to use ones imagination and thought in combination with experiences of ones own desires Furthermore to hold legal certainties in respect to freedom of expression associated with political and artistic speech and choice of religion
5Being able to have relationships with things and persons other than ourselves Possessing the ability to love mourn and experience life as it is seen in relation to other humans
6Being able to develop a realization of what is good and to use that newly acquired knowledge to help design specific intentions in reference to ones own life
7Being able to live for others recognizing and showing concern for other human beings interacting in a mixture of social activities Being able to imagine specific conditions evaluating those situations in terms of another persons circumstances and having compassion for their given scenario
8Being able to grasp that there is a correlation between humans and nature and recognizably enforces ones legitimate concerns for its interests
9Being able to laugh to play and to enjoy pleasurable experiences
10Being able to live a life of ones own without interference from any outsider by freely making personal choices concerning lifestyle work having children speech and sexual expression
Let us first begin with Nussbaums analysis of her own list She sees it as a critical scrutiny ofthe many ways in which habit fear low expectations and unjust background conditions deform peoples choices even their wishes for their own livesWomen Culture and Development p 114 I would have to agree with her assessment although consideration must be taken that freedom of choice in a society matters greatly and heavily affects the surrounding conditions
As I see it Nussbaum understands capabilities as basic powers of choice that make a moral claim for the opportunities to be realized and to flourish Women Culture and Development p 298 and makes a good case that The above adaptation was taken from Sex and Social Justice p41-42
we must focus on the capabilities as social goals ones that are closely related to the focus on human equality This in turn leads us to promoting a greater measure of material equality much more than what is present in existing societies globally The social goal she has in mind hopes to get all persons above the capability threshold discussed above
There is an obvious overlapping consensus of conceptions as to what exactly constitutes a good life Nussbaums approach to this subject can be pictured as strongly universalistic committed to cross-cultural norms of justice equality and rights Women Culture and Development p7 The form of universalism Nussbaum defends is sensitive to cultural differences She strongly challenges the main attitudes against the use of cross-cultural norms such as the imperative need to accept and respect the sometimes drastically different conceptions of the good life that can be found throughout non-Western populations Further proving her point Nussbaum states in her book Women Culture and Development the argument from the good of diversity which reminds us that our world is rich in part because we dont all agree in a single set of categoriesp50 destroying the basis for utilizing any type of cross-cultural norm It is quite clear that Nussbaum uses the capabilities approach as a philosophical basis for basic constitutional principles that should be respected and implemented by the governments of all nations as a bare minimum of what respect for human dignity requiresWomen Culture and Development p5
It is also evident that the form of universalism Nussbaum defends is quite sensitive to cultural differences There are for Nussbaum certain basic aspirations to human flourishing that are recognizable across differences of class and context however crucial it remains to understand how context shapes both choices and aspirationWomen Culture and Development p 31 What is important is not only this fact but that Nussbaum reconsiders the notion that people share the same problems no matter where they live Having the same problems does not mean they all have the same solutions One needs to take into consideration scarce resources competition for resources and the shortness of life These have been called the circumstances of justicewhat is due to people and their dignity Sex and Social Justice p8 It involves the ultimate uniqueness of the human being in terms of physical difference and behavioral variability and it is not just a characteristic but also the essence of what it means to be alive What identifies each of us as humans is not a compilation of qualities all of us posses but that we have power to associate with one another through loosely interconnected characteristics It is these differences that saturate almost all elements of life
One important aspect to take into consideration is the variances of economic stability found This unsteadiness overlooks the inherent consequences of an individual which is in fact an indispensable quality of life Nussbaum challenges the standard economic approaches commonly used as guides within public policy Easily observed are the preferences of each individual Nussbaum addresses them as adaptive preferences the psychological tendency to adapt ones own preferences to ones own possibilities which is as if one possesses a quiet acceptance of deprivation Women Culture and Development p139 The list Nussbaum has come up with is a very good starting point for developing research to a newfound welfare approach even though a good many of the components she utilizes are much different from those relevant to todays standards I will not get into the discussion of this matter but rather I will move on to the distinctions of Nussbaums list of capabilities approach versus that of the basic needs of human beings put together with the philosophy of the Stoics mainly Cicero
Cicero emphasizes on individual ethics which focuses on how the individual obtains happiness and lives virtuously in life This kind of original ethics forms the center of all the investigations made it brings about inescapable evidence and leads us directly toward the conceptual tools for the attainment of the good life It seems to me that this way of thinking is a bit more practical it brings about many ethical theories IE How can one live a good life What is human justice The Stoics put forth efforts to show how to live a contended life among the anxieties and agitations within their world I am not sure Nussbaum takes this theory to heart when devising her list of capabilities
Nussbaum has written about Western philosophy for many years Throughout all of her work anyone without a doubt can observe the influence of Aristotle who is the source for the conception of human functioning and capability that forms the core of the political argument Sex and Social Justice p23 as well as the essence of philosophy
The ideas of Stoicism in general agree with not only Aristotle but Nussbaum as well The Stoics goal is to achieve the virtue of moral excellence by being passive and by governing oneself through reason in order to free oneself from the external world and his or her happiness within For the Stoics bad philosophy is the neglecting of human beings They believe that humans are the very reason philosophy exists and that they are to whom any philosopher is to be dedicated The leading theory in Stoicism is respect for humanity wherever it is found Therapy of Desire p331 The bad philosophy the Stoics are emphasizing can be found on a lesser scale demonstrated by the magnitude of the list of capabilities itself It has somehow become a jargon-filled basis for the good life Nussbaums list is too long for the Stoics I think that the Stoics undoubtedly articulate the moral ideal of cosmopolitanism and world citizenship that Nussbaum should be taking into consideration when developing her list It is the things that should not be ignored such as the demands of nature but that we should learn to live in harmony with them
I think that the Epicureans would agree Both Stoic and Epicurean philosophy emphasizes practical philosophy and both believe there is only a minimum material needed in life and it can easily be obtainedIE food shelter water etc they would both attest that Nussbaums list is too extensive a list to ever be obtained It is important to note the goal of both the Epicureans and Stoics as far as modern day philosophy is concerned The Epicureans goal in life is to experience pleasure The identification of pleasure can be viewed as a way of aiming at the very obtainable goal of avoiding physical pain and achieving piece of mind Epicurus thought that few materials were needed for happiness beyond the basics IE food shelter water etc pleasure is needed again stressing lack of pain in ones body and disturbance in ones soul
Epicurus in pursuit of abstract philosophical concepts would advise one to live a quiet life and withdraw oneself from political society In his philosophy Epicurus formulated a four-fold remedy designed in part as a four-part cure for the never-ending contagious sickness of human anxiety It reinforced the beliefs that there is nothing to fear in God nothing to feel in death that the good in life is easily obtained and that evil can be endured The goal of Epicureanisms four-fold remedy is to teach an individual how to live ethically in a hostile world by enduring suffering each of us can attain a life of dignity What I will focus on now is the third of the four remedies the good in life is easily obtained Whether this statement is true depends on what one considers to be good If it means one is always able to attain basic goods for survival even this minimalist approach may prove to be false especially for those who are disadvantaged Maybe the good could mean one should maintain a simple lifestyle in order to obtain worldly goods that are true and eternal IE justice honor and wisdom
The nature of life needs to be simplified and the Stoics try to do just that The Stoics would disagree with the length of Nussbaums list saying there is no way it can never be fully or completely agreed upon in a conversation intended for public action Cicero rationalizes this very idea by stating the value of anything in Stoicism is defined by reference to Nature Hellenistic Philosophy p189
Another vital opinion the Stoics might have is in relation to Nussbaums stress upon the human body in her interpretation of Sens original list The Stoics believe in dominance of virtue within everyday life but they also hold true the irrelevance of the peripheral which would have to include the body Their philosophy supposes that through our own discourse we have universally come to accept bodily pain and suffering as negative things and conclude we have done so through our varied cultures The aversion that we as humans possess is not innate rather it is learned Take for instance a baby crying We try to comfort infants thinking that is the necessary action that needs to be implemented Essentially what we have done is taught the infant that if heshe cries an adult will come It is for the Stoics all a matter of social learning which is a very rational approach I would also hold the opinion that the Stoics would concur with Nussbaums version of the req
uired possibilities in life These securities are needed to sustain a quality life however I think the Stoics would take on the second of the two thresholds claiming that when looking at the world it is better to be vicious and to have the opportunity of virtue than to be denied the latter possibility Hellenistic Philosophy p 183 The Stoics would also disagree with Nussbaums analysis of economic importance They can allow the idea that having wealth is obviously preferable to poverty but they hold the belief that wealth is not something which is the special function of a rational being to possess Hellenistic Philosophy p 192
The Stoics would definitely agree with Nussbaums opinion of the importance of nature when discussing a good life They are very adamant about their relationship with their surroundings they assume that if one could fully recognize hisher correlation to the universe heshe would in turn act in a way that is best for all involved
When determining such a list one has to take into account differences with which members of society treat each other ie the feeling of safety in everyday life the quality of the physical environment and especially the ability to realize an individuals potential It is important to remember the significance of ones surroundings This needs to be a universalistic approach to refining our society Kwame Anthony Appiah once said in relation to the tribulations of Africa We shall only solve our problems if we see them as human problems arising out of a special situation and we shall not solve them if we see them as African problems generated by our being somehow unlike others
I strongly believe that Frederique Marglin holds a slightly similar viewpoint She evaluates Nussbaums work in a scrutinizing manner but she does so not just because she can but because it is needed Nussbaums conclusions are very similar to those of the liberal democratic specifically about the right of every human being especially the poor and disadvantaged women to certain basic human capabilities What Marglin would disagree with is the lack of a universalistic approach The quality of life must be explicated in both moral and political terms with the focus of concentration placed firmly on the interdependence of these It is necessary to point out that Nussbaums list carries a very strong Western undertone Throughout all of Nussbaums work it seems as though she uses the United States as a representation of the Western world The point Marglin tries to make is that the United States does not represent the Western world and in Nussbaums work India does not represent the rest of the world Her analyses of opinions from Western and non-Western do not provide Nussbaums ideas with any kind of universal character It seems possible to specify the primary good which are necessary if not sufficient conditions of well being along with the political arrangements that helps to facilitate it but is it really promising
An important matter to discuss at this time is Nussbaums said individual in her work Although she does not give much place to the human conditions of dependency in childhood disability and old age the individual she portrays is a healthy and strong-willed adult This seems to me and I think Marglin would agree to be a very one-sided critique It also is apparent that she emphasizes a great deal on injustices in other countries leaving an impression that everything is at least somewhat better in the Western world today and therefore will become better with the aid of their established policy of development This culturally biased analysis clearly shows Nussbaums neglect of cultural differences enshrining the understanding of a dominant group at the expense of minority understanding Sex and Social Justice p 38 This is certainly prejudicial in that the powerless can be excludedSome have neglectful of choice and autonomy In addition many have been prejudicially applied But none of this shows that all such conceptions must fail in one or more of these ways Sex and Social Justice p 39 There is also a neglect of autonomy in Nussbaums work The best kind of help for others whenever it is possible is indirect and must consist on such revisions of life of the general level of survival as it enables them to be viewed as independents This is autonomy at its best
Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it but a tree which requires growing and developing within itself on all sides according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing In this quote John Stuart Mill explicitly describes the necessity of autonomy or free will in society to insure the happiness of all From this perspective one can recognize that autonomy should not only be unconditionally allowed but also as an aspect of every human that is developed along with the ability to reason In accordance with the natural evolution of humans as a rationale beings to limit ones autonomy would be to deny the very ability that has allowed human development to occur Although the topic of autonomy is prevalent in the field of psychology the ramifications of its limits spread throughout all aspects of society as a whole
There have been criticisms to the necessity of autonomy from the beginning of philosophical thought However it can be recognized that these criticisms are often developed with a limited viewpoint One such critic BF Skinner who stressed the influence of the environment over the individual argued against autonomy from that particular view Skinner stated in theory that we must take into account what the environment does to an organism not only before but after it responds Behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences Although one can understandably recognize the influence of an individuals environment over their actions many react to situations as needed However this idea does not prove to give support to the negation of importance of autonomy In fact because the individual interacts with the environment the need for individual freedom in making choices becomes inherent in the flourishing of ones life
Therefore by limiting autonomy the assumption would have to be made that the individual no longer has the ability to be the guardian of him or herself This concept cannot be universally applied it is independent of the structure of government in a particular society because of the agreement that a human is a rational being
With the negation of autonomy comes the negation of reason and responsibility of humans Despite any argument for the need of control over society through limitations of autonomy the natural instincts to choose freely in daily life will still persist
Although in a given situation a person may come to have to make a choice between to undesirable alternatives due to uncontrollable factors it remains doubtful that the majority would rather have that choice be made for them At that point a life can longer be deemed a good life Moreover should a person choose to give up their autonomy because of the presence of too many uncontrollable factors it remains to be a free choice One can be free to choose not to choose
It becomes necessary to include that universal autonomy cannot be without limitations to function in a healthy society These limitations become necessary to protect the rights of the individual and society This is important ensuring that even with the presence of immoral choices one will is rightly protected and engages in the pursuit of a good life Again this need for limitation does not support that the individual does not have the capacity or the right to choose freely for himself or herself It is recognized through many different cultural practices in raising children that there comes a time when an adolescent is given the right of passage to begin to make choices for themselves It is their pursuit for the good life Although the period may differ among cultures autonomy becomes readily available for all
Through this perspective it can be recognized the autonomy is not something that should be ignored or overlooked but encouraged in development for the good of humankinds evolution and the development of any society
What needs to be closely dissected is the variance between Western and non-Western We need to first be able to identify who are the helpers and who is it that is being helped The question of distribution of well being is essentially a matter of social justice and I think Nussbaum identifies this aspect It is hard to justify the inequalities of well being in spite of everything when it seems possible to justify inequalities of economic goods For Nussbaum the helpers by a considerable margin are the rich educated and more often than not are city dwellers as well Those who need help are depicted as poor uneducated and rurally based Poverty is best understood not simply being deprived or having no access to basic needs such as food clothing and shelter Poverty in my view is best regarded as a reflection of national global sexual and other forms of inequality I believe that remembering the basic needs strategy of development at hand can inspire our thinking on how to level out inequalities of wealth today The basic needs strategy of development and of compensating inequalities of wealth is a critique of defining the goal of development as merely achieving higher levels of growth It is a difficult task to take those of rural areas and demand they adhere to the sophisticated habits of the city people What needs to be realized is that if those in question cannot adapt themselves to the methods of Westerners the methods themselves must be adapted to them This line of reasoning is the very crux of the matter at hand Even Aristotle would insist the morally good life is essential to human flourishing and that being good is possible for a person who has well being Therefore for him I would say well being spans both the moral and non-moral aspects of life because a good person cannot possibly enjoy well being in conditions of poverty or oppression It is obvious to me that well being needs to be addresses as a political notion The question might be best answered by some principle of equality that gives priority to policies whose goal is to make well off those who are unfavorably disadvantaged in terms of well being
What we need to emphasize is the full utilization of an individuals drive enthusiasm intelligence and the power hisher each possess Humans have other maintenance needs it is more difficult to describe these very needs but that does not mean they should not still be addressed These needs appear to be associated with creativity self-fulfillment self-expression and a realization of ones potential The identification of these needs that is fundamental The success of this global goal will not come from a magic potion it can only rise through a process of cross-cultural growth involving education organization and discipline of the whole population What we cannot permit is any type of impatience If one exudes impatience the other will only more defiantly object to their notions at the same time causing anger in both respects We need to look at the situation from the analogy of teaching Essentially to be a teacher is also to be a learner The instruction begins when the teacher learns from the learner What we as Westerners need to do is put ourselves in their situation so that we can begin to understand what they understand in the manner in which they understand it We need to develop a discussion that addresses the problems of both universalism and relativism The debate on what should be measured to assess the quality of life including the role of religion the importance of care and justice and the role of constitutional change in helping to create opportunities for better lives is what our main focus ought to be The theory of human justiceought to prompt reflection about hunger more generally about the relief of poverty and misery more generally Sex and Social Justice p 9 in essence to establish a quality life
The basic needs approach is also associated with the importance it places on the satisfaction of basic needs such as clothing and nutrition especially among the poor and economically vulnerable persons within the development process At the outset it is significant to point out that the basic needs approach to redistributive justice differs from that embraced within liberal theories of justice Liberal theories of justice unlike the basic needs approaches are mainly concerned with the way in which societal institutions determine the division of benefits and burdens in society By contrast basic needs approaches are primarily concerned with the sensitivity of the development policy embraced by a government to the needs of the poor vulnerable and poverty-stricken
It seems to me that the weaker version of the basic needs approach attracted the attention of capitalist oriented countries as well as international financial institutions for a variety of reasons In the stronger version the basic needs approach criticized development as growth for failing to question national misdistribution of wealth power and resources In contrast the weaker version of the basic needs approach embraces a view of development that takes for granted the existing distribution of wealth power and resources It focuses on meeting basic needs mainly for survival and minimum income Nevertheless the question at hand is where does that lead us
We find ourselves in an age shaped by uncertainties all around us are great opportunities for new solutions to perpetual problems pertaining to death living the good life and attaining happiness These new possibilities offer concise yet practical principles for living with a strong much needed emphasis on community When I say community I mean on a global level What we need to do is open our hearts and eyes and become conscious of this rich understanding before us including all of its wonder and mystery
What we need to create is a capabilities approach based on a somewhat more balanced critique We need to question our institutions and concepts for example marriage family television organized religion moral issues professional sports eating habits our emphasis on beauty education and hygiene Moreover we cannot forget about prostitution nudity crime writing in library books late return of movie rentals parking in handicap zones and giving to beggars The extent to which we view these concepts by which we base how we live have already been established and defined for us by our cultures and manipulate our brains which we use to analyze our everyday experiences and cannot be overestimated What we need to ask ourselves is can we envision a floor without thinking of a ceiling Is it perhaps too difficult of a task to separate the notion of capability threshold from that of relative capability equality

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