The Only Game in Town: Why Capacities Must Matter Morally

  • Russell DiSilvestro
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 108)


In this chapter, I defend the second step of the main argument: if something has a set of typical human capacities, it has serious moral status. The major line of reasoning in this chapter is that there are cases of human organisms that are in such a state that the only satisfactory basis for their serious moral status is their set of typical human capacities. Since most of us—philosophers and non-philosophers alike—do believe that these human organisms have serious moral status, and since most of us do base this serious moral status on something, it must be the set of typical human capacities that we base it on. Finally, I spend the last two sections of the chapter explaining why the second step of the main argument can be arrived at in different ways, by adopting either the moral framework of John Rawls’ original position or the moral framework of Martha Nussbaum’s “capabilities approach”


Original Position Human Dignity Moral Status Human Organism Capability Approach 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCalifornia State University, SacramentoSacramentoUSA

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