Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership by Martha Nussbaum
Jean Chambers witnesses Martha Nussbaum raise a high bar for standards of international social justice.
In Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership, Martha Nussbaum criticizes John Rawls’ Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism while arguing for her alternative theory of liberal justice, the capabilities approach. She uses Rawls’ general method of balancing theoretical commitments against intuitive moral judgments to form a coherent system of beliefs. She also assumes, with Rawls, that a pluralistic liberal society requires a consensus among various groups concerning a common intuitive conception of what justice is. But she rejects Rawls’ manner of justification of the principles of justice, which is through a hypothetical decision by self-interested rational parties. She prefers the capabilities approach, an outcome-oriented theory which first defines the goal of social justice – namely, everyone having a life worthy of human dignity – and then tries to identify the best means to provide such a life for all sentient creatures – namely, effective social institutions.