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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The commitment to human flourishing in various traditions of political thought has been an important bridge between anthropocentrically conceived political theory and the more encompassing concerns of biocentrism and eco-centrism in environmental political theory. This chapter explores how this commitment has been developed and applied by scholars drawing on the theory of human capabilities—or “capabilities theory”—to imagine and construct an environmentally and ecologically just democratic politics. Treating the natural environment as both a component and condition of human flourishing, some have engaged capabilities theory without challenging anthropocentrism. Others have drawn on and expanded the theory to specify the non-human capabilities of animals, species, and the systems that comprise the natural world. Regarding non-human beings and ecosystems as having a dignity that makes them worthy of recognition as intrinsically valuable ends, these scholars use capabilities theory to include non-human beings and ecosystems as subjects of political justice.

Keywords: flourishing, capabilities, non-human capabilities, political justice, democratic politics, dignity, anthropocentrism, biocentrism, eco-centrism

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