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Love's Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature / Edition 1

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Overview

This volume brings together Nussbaum's published papers on the relationship between literature and philosophy, especially moral philosophy. The papers, many of them previously inaccessible to non-specialist readers, deal with such fundamental issues as the relationship between style and content in the exploration of ethical issues; the nature of ethical attention and ethical knowledge and their relationship to written forms and styles; and the role of the emotions in deliberation and self-knowledge. Nussbaum investigates and defends a conception of ethical understanding which involves emotional as well as intellectual activity, and which gives a certain type of priority to the perception of particular people and situations rather than to abstract rules. She argues that this ethical conception cannot be completely and appropriately stated without turning to forms of writing usually considered literary rather than philosophical. It is consequently necessary to broaden our conception of moral philosophy in order to include these forms. Featuring two new essays and revised versions of several previously published essays, this collection attempts to articulate the relationship, within such a broader ethical inquiry, between literary and more abstractly theoretical elements.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An engaging and satisfying study of literature's intrinsic relationship to philosophy, and of philosophy in its relationship to the rich web of human love and choice....It is a book textured with so many lives and stories that it cannot fail to inspire lively debate on the role of novelist as philosopher and on the centrality of love to wisdom."—Christianity & Literature

"The best modern discussion of the ways in which what we call philosophy and what we call literature interrelate....Anyone who wants to think about how literature and philosophy can serve each other should not just read this book but study it and return to its complex arguments again and again." —Wayne Booth, Philosophy and Literature

"I did not want Love's Knowledge to stop, and I find myself trusting its progress as much as that of any work of moral thinking of recent times."—Arion

"One of the most original books published [in 1991], a hugely stimulating read, which returns us with thoughts refreshed to some of our best-loved authors and brings philosophy back to earth in the process."—The Observer

"With this volume Martha Nussbaum gives new meaning to the word 'interdisciplinary': No mere dabbling in closely aligned fields, the essays presented here are based on her considerable knowledge and understanding of classics, philosophy, and comparative literature....Her assertions are balanced, insightful, and infused with subtle humor."—The Bloomsbury Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195074857
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/2/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 727,839
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha C. Nussbaum is Professor of Law and Ethics and the University of Chicago Law School.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Form and Content, Philosophy and Literature
2. The Discernment of Perception: An Aristotelian Conception of Private and Public Rationality
3. Plato on Commensurability and Desire
4. Flawed Crystals: James's The Golden Bowl and Literature as Moral Philosophy
5. "Finely Aware and Richly Responsible": Literature and the Moral Imagination
6. Perceptive Equilibrium: Literary Theory and Ethical Theory
7. Perception and Revolution: The Princess Casamassima and the Political Imagination
8. Sophistry About Conventions
9. Reading for Life
10. Fictions of the Soul
11. Love's Knowledge
12. Narrative Emotions: Beckett's Geneology of Love
13. Love and the Individual: Romantic Rightness and Platonic Aspiration
14. Steerforth's Arm: Love and the Moral Point of View
15. Transcending Humanity

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2001

    It is like a sweet song. When the music stops, the melody lingers.

    Want to read a book about ethics that will tug at your heart instead of numbing your mind? This is it. Nussbaum weaves a tapastry of thought, threading through Aristotle, Plato and contemporary philsophers, and then pulls the thead tightly, binding these thinkers with those novelists who evoke passion about the question of how should we live. James, Proust, Dickens, Beckett, and others are brought into the discussion. In them we see beyond the grand concept into the particularities and detail that more closely mirror our own day to day dilemmas of moral judgement. The book begins with a soulful raising of the question of how do we think about our lives in a moral and ethical way, and ends with a deeply moving affirmation of the ambiguities, failures and travials that we mortals undergo in living our our provisional solutions. I am in mourning about bidding farewell to this companion. Since it is a book, however, I get to go back, re-read the underlined passages, savor the exquisite language and careful thought, and touch, once again a fine fabric that weaves through my own life and illuminates that life as it does so. Writing about how we should live, has never had a more artful inquisitor since Socarates first dared to ask the question.

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