Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew I. Cohen

Third Advisor

Dr. Eric Wilson


Martha Nussbaum’s conception of dignity is integral to her capabilities approach. She argues that dignity is rooted in the flourishing and striving of animals. Her view is distinct from Kant’s, as Kant claims that persons have dignity in virtue of their rational nature. Though Nussbaum’s conception of dignity is important to her approach, its exact content and its relation to her thought is not clearly stated in her work, and I will attempt to provide an overview of Nussbaum’s conception of dignity. Also I will compare and contrast Nussbaum’s dignity with Kant’s (and contemporary Kantians’). Nussbaum provides four reasons for why her approach is superior to the Kantian split between rationality and animality, all of which I will examine. Finally, I will look at three areas of Nussbaum’s theory which require further exploration.

Included in

Philosophy Commons