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, p. 74). 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, p. 74). Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's work on the subject from the perspective of Cicero and the Stoics and that of non-Western thinkers. What's 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 Nussbaum's revision of Amartya Sen's original compilation is much too long. On the other hand, such scholars like Frederique Apf fel Marglin would completely disagree with Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's system are neglected, resulting in an inherently narrow concept of the whole. From evaluating Marglin's perspective, 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 Nussbaum's re-evaluation of Sen's opus, so that we can better understand the material with which we have to work. Mortality 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 his / her own that the being in question could not be recognized as human.

The Human Body 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 one's 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. o Hunger and Thirst 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. o Need for shelter 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. o Sexual Desire 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. o Mobility 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 any given 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. Early Infant Development 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 one's ability to recognize himself / herself 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 his / her life was reasonably different from our own and would consider him / her a part of the same group. Practical Reason 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 individual's 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 one's 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. Humor and Play 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. Separateness 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 else's.

We can identify one person as not being the same as another. Strong Separateness 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. Nussbaum's 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.

Nussbaum's work is clearly influenced by that of Aristotle. Before discussing the thresholds in detail, I want to outline Aristotle's 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 Aristotle's 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.

Ar^eye 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 one's habits after they are formed. Aristotle's 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 Two Thresholds 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: 1). Being 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.

2). Being 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. 3). Being able to stay away from unnecessary pain and to achieve pleasurable experiences. 4). Being 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 one's imagination and thought in combination with experiences of one's own desires. Furthermore, to hold legal certainties in respect to freedom of expression associated with political and artistic speech and choice of religion. 5). Being 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.

6). Being able to develop a realization of what is good and to use that newly acquired knowledge to help design specific intentions in reference to one's own life. 7). Being 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 person's circumstances, and having compassion for their given scenario. 8).

Being able to grasp that there is a correlation between humans and nature and recognizably enforces one's legitimate concerns for its interests. 9). Being able to laugh, to play and to enjoy pleasurable experiences. 10). Being able to live a life of one's 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 Nussbaum's analysis of her own list.

She sees it as." ... a critical scrutiny of... the many ways in which habit, fear, low expectations and unjust background conditions deform people's choices even their wishes for their own lives" (Women, 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, (p. 41-42) 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. Nussbaum's approach to this subject can be pictured as "strongly universalistic, committed to cross-cultural norms of justice, equality and rights" (Women, Culture and Development, p.

7). 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 don't all agree in a single set of categories" (p. 50) 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 requires" (Women, Culture and Development, p. 5). 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 aspiration" (Women, 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 justice... what is due to people and their dignity" (Sex and Social Justice, p. 8). 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 imp or tant 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 one's own preferences to one's own possibilities) which is as if one possesses a "quiet acceptance of deprivation" (Women, Culture and Development, p.

139). 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 today's standards. I will not get into the discussion of this matter, but rather I will move on to the distinctions of Nussbaum's 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, p.

23), 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, p.

331). 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; Nussbaum's 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 obtained (IE: food, shelter, water, etc. ) they would both attest that Nussbaum's 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 Epicurean's 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 one's body and disturbance in one's 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 Epicureanism's 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 Nussbaum's 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, p. 189). Another vital opinion the Stoics might have is in relation to Nussbaum's stress upon the human body in her interpretation of Sen's 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 he / she 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 Nussbaum's version of the required 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 Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's 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 his / her correlation to the universe, he / she 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 {i.

e. : the feeling of safety in everyday life, the quality of the physical environment and especially the ability to realize an individual's potential. It is important to remember the significance of one's surroundings. This needs to be a universalistic approach to refining our society.

Kwame Anthony Appian 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 Nussbaum's work in a scrutinizing manner, but she does so not just because she can, but because it is needed. Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's list carries a very strong Western undertone. Throughout all of Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's work, India does not represent the rest of the world. Her analyses of opinions from Western and non-Western do not provide Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's 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 Nussbaum's 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 excluded... Some have neglectful of choice and autonomy. In addition, many have been pre judicially 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 Nussbaum's 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 one's 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, B. F.

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 individual's 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 one's 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 humankind's 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 individual's drive, enthusiasm, intelligence and the power his / her 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 one's 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 justice... ought 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 mis distribution 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? Bibliography Inwood, Brian and Gerson, L. P... Hellenistic Philosophy. Hackett Publishing Company; Indiana: 1988. Irwin, Terence.

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