Ben Bessey

Department of Philosophy
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

  • PhD title: A basis for capability theory: humanity, well-being, virtue, objectivity
  • Supervisors: Heather Widdows and Iain Law


My project examines some foundational issues in one popular contemporary view about global justice: the capabilities approach. Although this perspective has been very influential as a practical approach, there has been relatively little detailed work done on its central concepts, or its relationship to other areas of normative philosophy, especially meta-ethics.

I aim to remedy that, by arguing for a relatively complete account of the basic concepts involved, and their interrelations, showing how meta-ethical and normative issues come together in a coherent and attractive way. The capability approach that I think results is similar to that of Martha Nussbaum's early work, establishing universalism and objectivity by basing judgements about justice and well-being in a normative account of humanity.

For more information, please contact me via email.