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Ending Midlife BiasNew Values for Old Age$
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Nancy S. Jecker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190949075

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190949075.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2021

The Preferred Account of Human Capabilities

The Preferred Account of Human Capabilities

Chapter:
(p.58) 3 The Preferred Account of Human Capabilities
Source:
Ending Midlife Bias
Author(s):

Nancy S. Jecker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190949075.003.0003

Chapter 3 translates the idea of dignity as species integrity into the more grounded idea of respecting central human capabilities. Fleshing out human capabilities yields a preferred capability list, which is balanced, life stage sensitive, and provisional. This conception of human dignity carries the advantage of avoiding speciesism, the view that members of one’s own species are morally superior. It leaves open the possibility that members of nonhuman species possess their own kind of dignity, based on central capabilities for their species. Dignity as species integrity carries the advantage of avoiding ableism. In contrast to Kantian conceptions, which regard highly developed cognitive functioning as necessary for dignity, Chapter 3 equates dignity with possessing at least one central human capability. Infants and people with disabilities who can affiliate, express emotion, or exercise senses and imagination possess a human dignity that demands respect, even if they lack specific cognitive capabilities.

Keywords:   human capability, human dignity, disability, speciesism, ableism, Kantian, intellectual impairment, Ubuntu, sub-Saharan African ethics, African ethics

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