Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

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by Martha C. Nussbaum
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691154481

ISBN-13: 9780691154480

Pub. Date: 10/09/2015

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In this short and powerful book, celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes a passionate case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education.

Historically, the humanities have been central to education because they have been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of

Overview

In this short and powerful book, celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes a passionate case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education.

Historically, the humanities have been central to education because they have been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry in the United States and abroad. We increasingly treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens. This shortsighted focus on profitable skills has eroded our ability to criticize authority, reduced our sympathy with the marginalized and different, and damaged our competence to deal with complex global problems. And the loss of these basic capacities jeopardizes the health of democracies and the hope of a decent world.

In response to this dire situation, Nussbaum argues that we must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross national product. Rather, we must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students the capacity to be true democratic citizens of their countries and the world.

Drawing on the stories of troubling--and hopeful--educational developments from around the world, Nussbaum offers a manifesto that should be a rallying cry for anyone who cares about the deepest purposes of education.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691154480
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/09/2015
Series:
Public Square Series
Edition description:
With a New afterword by the author
Pages:
184
Sales rank:
133,271
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ruth O’Brien ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Chapter I: The Silent Crisis 1
Chapter II: Education for Profit, Education for Democracy 13
Chapter III: Educating Citizens: The Moral (and Anti-Moral) Emotions 27
Chapter IV: Socratic Pedagogy: The Importance of Argument 47
Chapter V: Citizens of the World 79
Chapter VI: Cultivating Imagination: Literature and the Arts 95
Chapter VII: Democratic Education on the Ropes 121
Notes 145
Index 153

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Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Carl_in_Richland More than 1 year ago
Why do we need the humanities? Martha Nussbaum argues that the humanities offer insight into other cultures, other values and teach an appreciation for the complexity of the world beyond what we see close at hand in our day to day life. Activities such as philosophical discourse (alas Socrates), a critical reading of history, participating in drama, reading and writing poetry and fiction help us see what life is like through the eyes of persons with whom we are not familiar. These other groups of people extend beyond just those who are geographically remote from us, and include people from different economic backgrounds, other ‘races’ , other religions, other genders and people with different sexual orientations. Critical and creative thinking in the humanities teaches us to look for gaps in what we’re told by society and to consider the assumptions behind the values given to us by society. But while advocating the need for the humanities, Prof. Nussbaum reminds the reader on a number of occasions that she is *not* arguing against science/engineering/economic education. Rather, she is arguing that society needs the humanities in addition to these fields, and while the sciences are growing, the humanities are under attack on many fronts. One reason for this growing lack of support is the perception that an education in the humanities is not as employable as an education in (for example) engineering and the skills learned from the humanities may not seem as critical to economic growth. But she and others (e.g., Jean-Jacques Rousseau, American philosopher John Dewey and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore) note that central to the humanities are critical thinking and creativity skills that many employers value highly in their senior staff, and that economic growth as measured by the GNP is not necessarily the best measure of the health of a society since it does not take into account the disparities of wealth, the quality of life or educational opportunities available to all citizens. This very readable book summarizes many points that concerned readers should bring to the attention of local school boards, state educators and university administrators. If Prof. Nussbaum had included statistics showing changes in funding for the humanities, or even a list of institutions that have cut back on their humanities programs, I would have given this book a 5-star rating. But this lack of more widespread supporting quantitative data, which decision makers will certainly ask about, does not detract from the main message of the book. Anybody interested in education will be glad to have read ‘Not for Profit’.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You know this is for M.C.C. DUHHHHHHHHHHHH!
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