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Women and Human Development
The Capabilities Approach


Part of The Seeley Lectures

  • Date Published: March 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521660860

$ 108.00

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About the Authors
  • In this major book Martha Nussbaum, one of the most innovative and influential philosophical voices of our time, proposes a kind of feminism that is genuinely international, argues for an ethical underpinning to all thought about development planning and public policy, and dramatically moves beyond the abstractions of economists and philosophers to embed thought about justice in the concrete reality of the struggles of poor women. Nussbaum argues that international political and economic thought must be sensitive to gender difference as a problem of justice, and that feminist thought must begin to focus on the problems of women in the third world. Taking as her point of departure the predicament of poor women in India, she shows how philosophy should undergird basic constitutional principles that should be respected and implemented by all governments, and used as a comparative measure of quality of life across nations.

    • Nussbaum herself - a superstar in current philosophy, both a prolific author and reviewer
    • This book is probably Nussbaum's most important statement - aimed at a non-specialist audience
    • The book argues for a new international focus for feminism, and tries to get away from the abstractions of economists and philosophers, and show how philosophical ideas of justice connect to real-life issues of poverty, abuse, discrimination
    • Vividly written with plenty of narrative examples
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'An important book. It presents a rich, nuanced argument that is both intellectually rigorous and attuned to practical dilemmas.' New York Times

    'This book is an important contribution to the increasing dialogue between Western and Third World feminists, and should be read by anyone interested in international development.' Susan Okin, Stanford University

    ' … important, original, and moving … Nussbaum's book shows how philosophy can engage life, and improve it.' Joshua Cohen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    'Women and Human Development is an enormously thought-provoking contribution which is highly recommendable to development academics and practitioners alike.' Jocelyn L. Dejong and Tariq Tell, University of Manchester

    '… Nussbaum's book has a particular strength. It shows how a philosophical theory can both be informed by experience and aim at transforming experience. Through this book's reading, one realizes the importance of philosophy in global ethics.' Julie Custeau, Philosophy in Review

    'This is a challenging book, refreshingly different from most works on international ethics … an excellent example of practical philosophy.' Australian Journal of Philosophy

    'This book is the most extensive and systematic of the many important contributions which Martha Nussbaum has made to feminist philosophy and to the development of the capabilities approach.' Oxford Academic Journals

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2000
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521660860
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.619kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Feminism and international development
    1. In defense of universal values
    2. Adaptive preferences and women's options
    3. The role of religion
    4. Love, care, and dignity.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Feminist Theory and Activism
    • Gender in Developing Nations
    • Health Care Ethics in a Pluralistic Society
    • International Perspectives on Women: The Ethics of Development and Labor (In)equality
    • Managing Moral Diversity
    • Social Political Philosophy
    • Women Internationally
  • Author

    Martha C. Nussbaum, University of Chicago

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