Habilitation, Health, and Agency: A Framework for Basic Justice

Hardcover | August 16, 2012

byLawrence C. Becker

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Lawrence C. Becker introduces an unconventional set of background ideas for future philosophical work on normative theories of basic justice. The organizing concept is habilitation - the process of equipping a person or thing with functional abilities or capacities. The specific proposalsdrawn from the concept of habilitation are independent of any particular set of distributive principles. The result is a framework for theory that includes a metric for the pursuit of basic justice, but not a normative theory of it.The basic idea is that receiving and providing habilitation is a lifelong necessity for human beings, from the nearly helpless newborn state through the struggle to survive and thrive thereafter, even into the most severe diminishments of old age. This lifelong human necessity underlies allquestions about basic justice, and the possibilities for habilitation define the circumstances under which those questions arise. Focusing on the circumstances of habilitation calls attention to the central role of physical and psychological health. Without basic good health in both domains, it is not possible to cope with the habilitative demands of one's physical and psychological endowments, and one's physical and socialenvironments. And for human beings, a particular aspect of human health effectively sums up these matters: namely human agency; the nature and extent of the ability to act effectively. The book proposes, specifically, that normative theories of basic justice adopt the habilitation framework. What then appears to follow is that the most plausible comprehensive metric for assessing progress toward basic justice will be the level and distribution of basic good health. Moreover,achieving robustly healthy agency will be the most plausible tactical target for making progress toward basic justice -no matter what one's favored distributive principles might be.

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Lawrence C. Becker introduces an unconventional set of background ideas for future philosophical work on normative theories of basic justice. The organizing concept is habilitation - the process of equipping a person or thing with functional abilities or capacities. The specific proposalsdrawn from the concept of habilitation are indep...

Lawrence C Becker is a Fellow of Hollins University, and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, College of William and Mary. He is the author of four previous monographs, including Property Rights (1977), Reciprocity (1986), and A New Stoicism (1998). With Charlotte B. Becker he co-edited two editions of the Encyclopedia of Ethics (1992; 2...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:August 16, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019991754X

ISBN - 13:9780199917549

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart One: Habilitation and Basic JusticePreface to Part One1. Basic Justice and Habilitation: Concept and Conception1. Basic justice2. Habilitation: concept and conception3. Normative theories with a close connection to habilitation4. Habilitation: conception and framework2. The Circumstances of Habilitation for Basic Justice1. Functional abilities in a given range of environments2. Summary of the circumstances of habilitation3. The centrality of health and agencyPart Two: Health, Healthy Agency, and the Health MetricPreface to Part Two3. Eudaimonistic Health: Complete Health, Moral Development, Well-Being, and Happiness1. Health, well-being, and virtue3. The science of mental health, happiness, and virtue4. Health, happiness, and basic justice4. Good Health as Reliably Competent Functioning1. Basic health: an integrated, limited general concept2. Habilitation, coping abilities, and agency3. Good (basic) health as reliably competent functioning5. Robustly Healthy Agency1. The health metric2. Health science: limited and unified3. Habilitation into robustly healthy agency6. Healthy Agency as the Representative Good for Basic Justice1. Healthy agency versus wealth and income2. Healthy agency versus pluralism3. The representativeness of habilitation into healthy agency4. Theory all the way down: a public policy objectionPart Three: Healthy Agency and the Norms of Basic JusticePreface to Part Three7. Healthy Agency and Its Behavioral Tendencies1. Dispositions toward health and habilitation2. Dispositions about the subject matter of justice8. Healthy Agency and the Norms of Basic Justice1. Habilitative necessities and justice2. Habilitative stability, strength, and efficiency3. Second-order norms4. Moving beyond basic justicePart Four: Relevance, Influence, and Prejudice RevisitedPreface to Part Four9. Relevance, Influence, and Prejudice1. Exclusionary reminders2. Comprehensiveness and representativeness10. Conclusion and Extrication1. Health, individual liberty, and social stability: a fantasy2. Approximations to health3. Pseudo-problems and elusive targets: sensible replies to the Foole4. Hope rather than fantasyAcknowledgmentsBibliography