Universal principles of justice and respect for cultural and religious diversity in the capability approach

Translated title of the contribution: Universal principles of justice and respect for cultural and religious diversity in the capability approach

E. Ram-Tiktin

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Should a theory of justice that yields universal principles for the allocation of goods be sensitive to cultural differences, and should there be a limit to the respect for cultural and religious diversity? I address this question from a liberal point of view and more specifically based on the Sen-Nussbaum capability approach. Three possible arguments within this approach are analyzed: dignity, internalist essentialism, and positive freedom. The interplay between a universal principle of distribution and respect for cultural and religious diversity is demonstrated by using a particular version of the capability approach that is applicable to the health care sphere, namely the Sufficiency of Basic Human Functional Capabilities. I discuss the account's commitment to a universal allocation principle and its respect for cultural and religious diversity, and demonstrate the possible tension between them using two examples: treatment of congenital strabismus and the definition of death as a prerequisite for organ removal. It is shown that liberals can present and defend universal principles of justice if they can clearly define what the universal principles for justice require and if they can provide strong justification for these universal claims. I argue that by means of the same argument in favour of respecting cultural diversity, liberals can justify not respecting it under certain circumstances. It is shown why these circumstances apply to the case of congenital strabismus and why in the case of the definition of death respect for religious and cultural pluralism is compatible with universal principles of justice.

Translated title of the contributionUniversal principles of justice and respect for cultural and religious diversity in the capability approach
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalEthics, Medicine and Public Health
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

Keywords

  • Brain death
  • Capability
  • Multiculturalism
  • Religious pluralism
  • Universal principles

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