2009 Henry M. Phillips Prize

Spring General Meeting
Martha Craven Nussbaum

The American Philosophical Society awarded the 2009 Henry M. Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence to Martha Craven Nussbaum. The citation read “in recognition of her intellectual leadership in philosophy, law and religion, including in particular her development and application of a "capabilities approach" to justice in a variety of contexts including women's rights in developing countries and worldwide, rights of the disabled and the impaired, and rights of animal species.” The award was presented by Ellen Ash Peters, Judge Trial Referee of the Connecticut Appellate Court and Former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, and a member of the Henry M. Phillips Prize selection committee.

The Henry M. Phillips Prize recognizes outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of jurisprudence and the important publications which illustrate that accomplishment. It was established in 1888 by a gift from his sister to be used as an award to honor "real merit on the science and philosophy of jurisprudence."

Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Law School, the Philosophy Department, and the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. at Harvard University, and has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities. In the past thirty years, Professor Nussbaum has published fourteen books – four have won national prizes – and edited thirteen others. She has explored such diverse themes as the vulnerability of human development (The Fragility of Goodness, 1986); the breadth of the concept of social justice (Sex and Social Justice, 1999); the proposition that development goals must take account of human capabilities (Women and Human Development, 2000), and most recently, the distinctively American tradition of religious equality ( Liberty of Conscience, 2008). Although she shows no signs of slowing down – she currently holds contracts for at least three other books – she has established herself as one of the most influential and distinguished scholars of her generation.

The selection committee consisted of Herma Hill Kay (chairman), Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law and Former Dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley; William T. Coleman, Jr., Senior Partner & The Senior Counselor at O'Melveny & Myers; Ellen Ash Peters, Judge Trial Referee of the Connecticut Appellate Court and former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court; and Louis Pollak, Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.