|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation explores Nussbaum’s capabilities approach and shows how she establishes the basic entitlements of animals with this approach. In this dissertation, I try to point out the shortcomings of Nussbaum’s theory. In due course, it is reconstructed and revised and a number of important issues in animal ethics are resolved. My dissertation concerns with three main issues. First, I find that Nussbaum did not provide a clear discourse from capabilities approach to solve the conflicts between humans and animals in their respective capabilities development and she suggested that animals need to be sacrificed for human interests. This is clearly unsatisfactory. Second, since Nussbaum dismissed the foundational conceptions such as rationality and social agreement of traditional theory of justice, the relation of her capabilities approach with the contractarian tradition is somewhat vague and unclear. Third, the long time dispute of “is-ought problem” in animal ethics, which not even renowned theories of Singer’s and Regan’s could escape, and a solution for this problem is proposed.
In this thesis, I employ the model of “levels of thinking” to deal with these three issues. For the first problem, I try to construct and employ certain mid-level moral principles in order to arrive at a proper and justifiable way for the solution of the conflicts of capabilities development between human and animal. The three main principles are respect for life, non-maleficence and beneficence. They imply that we have to respect and protect the development of capabilities of all individuals especially those sentience ones. While the principle of differentiation of levels of capabilities and the principle of comparison of order of life values are the basic principles for the solution of conflicts. Moreover, the principle of humanity and the principle of revisability provide additional explanations to help solve possible conflicts. With these principles, the capabilities approach could indeed solve animal issues like experimental animals and animal farm factory. Besides clarifying some of the vague points of Nussbaum’s theory, I elaborate Thomas Scanlon’s idea of “others could not reasonably reject” to fortify its position. Finally, I re-interpreted the Nussbaum’s idea of compassion and using it as the source of morality in order to solve the “is-ought problem”. As a result, it makes Nussbaum’s theory more capable to solve various issues of animal ethics.