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The paper should be 4-6 pages typed, double-spaced and in MLA format with works cited.
In Sex and Social Justice, Martha Nussbaum presents us with a list of human capabilities that she insists
“ought” to be our political goals. She emphasizes the importance of “practical reason, as a good that both
suffuses all the other functions, making them human rather than animal, and figures, itself, as a central
function on the list.” She also insists that “a life that lacks any one of these capabilities, no matter what
else it has, will fall short of being a good human life.”
1. Research an example of a particular capability that you identify as lacking in a particular society.
2. Using and explaining to your readers Nussbaum’s conception of “capabilities,” “a good human
life,” and “practical reason” attempt to describe the injustice, why is it an injustice and who is
3. Lastly, propose a possible step that might be taken to achieve the capabilities for those lacking a
capability that Nussbaum has enumerated, argue for justice in the issue.
This prompt has many parts, consider your audience and the thesis that you want them to get. What is the
message that you have for the audience about the issue that you have investigated and that you have applied
Nussbaum’s conceptual understanding to?
The goal of this essay is to communicate in Academic Discourse your understanding of the Capabilities
Approach and how it can be used to locate and affect change to social injustice.
Criteria for Prompt
1. A successful paper will explain clearly in some detail Nussbaum’s conceptions of the “central
human functional capabilities”.
2. A successful paper will establish the relationship between practical reason, capabilities, and the
political goal Nussbaum sets forth.
3. A successful paper will propose a possible step that might be taken to achieve the capabilities that
Nussbaum has enumerated or whether it is worthwhile to try.
4. A successful paper will use Nussbaum’s and another 5 texts at least 2 from the databases to
support its points.
5. A successful paper will be one that crafts an effective organization for the multiple questions that
6. A successful paper will be carefully edited and proofread, with special attention to contextualizing
sources and citing them correctly.