Major Papers


Marx, Nussbaum, Philosophy, Dignity, Labour


Both Martha Nussbaum and Karl Marx examine human dignity. Whereas Marx’s account describes how the capitalist mode of production harms individual dignity, Nussbaum’s account is more general. She provides both a positive account of dignity as based on her capabilities approach, while also providing an explanation as to how dignity comes to be violated. She endeavours to describe what features a dignified life ought to possess. Despite this, Nussbaum fails to identify the role that the capitalist system plays in depriving individuals of a dignified life. Chiefly, the position of ‘wage slavery’ is both a product of the capitalist system, and constitutes a dignity violation as the individual is unable to exercise their innate ability to self-determine as autonomous agents by leveraging the threat of material deprivation to force workers into an exploitative relationship

Primary Advisor

Jeff Noonan

Program Reader

Radu Neculau

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year