Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities [NOOK Book]

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 rightly been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry both in the United States and abroad. Anxiously focused on national ...

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Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

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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 rightly been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry both in the United States and abroad. Anxiously focused on national economic growth, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Yorker
Nussbaum makes a persuasive case.
New York Times Book Review
Nussbaum . . . brings to this perennial [education] debate an impassioned urgency . . . and broad erudition. . . . Nussbaum's defense of this worthy cause is deeply learned.
— Mick Sussman
New York Times Opinionator Blog
For Nussbaum, human development means the development of the capacity to transcend the local prejudices of one's immediate (even national) context and become a responsible citizen of the world.
— Stanley Fish
Washington Post
A comprehensive look at today's worldwide marketplace for college students.
— Michael Alison Chandler
Booklist
This is a passionate call to action at a time when the nation is becoming more culturally diverse and universities are cutting back on humanities programs.
— Vanessa Bush
Times Higher Education
Against the commercialisation of the academy, [Nussbaum] poses a sentient, Socratic and cosmopolitan vision of higher education.
— Jon Nixon
Chronicle of Higher Education
It's an important and timely plea because the pursuit of so-called useful educational results continues apace, and because the threats to humanistic education are indeed profound.
— Michael S. Roth
Australian
[A] short, though-provoking book. . . . Not For Profit offers a passionate and persuasive defence of the humanities. While most of the cases Nussbaum discusses are drawn from the US and India, her argument has undoubted relevance for Australia.
— Tim Soutphommasane
ForeWord
Nussbaum believes that cutting the liberal arts from our academic programs will lead to undereducated graduates. To make responsible decisions, a student must comprehend more than a limited business-oriented curriculum can provide. . . . Not For Profit is required reading for educational administrators, government analysts, and liberal arts instructors at all levels.
— Julia Ann Charpentier
Globe and Mail

This book will certainly add weight to Nussbaum's considerable reputation and influence as a major public intellectual. Her core diagnosis is both accurate and compelling. . . . Not for Profit is an important book with an urgent message that should be read and considered by the widest possible audience.
— Paul Russell

Truthdig
Nussbaum's defense of the value of the humanities is informed, intelligent and deeply plausible—so much so that many readers might find themselves somewhat at a loss as to how our society, and indeed the world in general, has reached the point where such a book is even needed. What could be more obvious, and thus less in need of a defense, than the claim that a strong grounding in the arts and humanities is a great good, both for the individual and for the society in which she lives? . . . I admire this book, as I do all Nussbaum's work, and I could not be more sympathetic to its message.
— Troy Jollimore
Diversity Web
This brief volume incisively argues that higher education around the globe must reprioritize toward preparing students to become 'citizens of the world'—a task that will require schools to cultivate imagination, empathy, and other trademarks of humanistic education. Nussbaum's analysis is a moving reminder of the humanities' practical consequence.
Common Review
[R]efreshingly free of the policy speak and narrow thinking that often dominate works on the subject. . . . Nussbaum's unorthodox method of defining and then demonstrating the value of the humanities is perhaps the most compelling aspect of her book.
— Andrew Benedict-Nelson
Philosophers' Magazine
As a model of public philosophy, [Not For Profit] is exemplary. . . . There are no pronouncements from on high here, only strong arguments, forcefully made.
— Julian Baggini
Dissent
Nussbaum makes a compelling case for the humanities' continuing value and importance.
— David A. Bell
Philosophy in Review
This is a little book with a big, and important, message. . . . Nussbaum has long demonstrated her courage as a public intellectual, and this book articulates the liberal vision that sustains her.
— John A. Scott
Ethical Perspectives
[E]xcellently written.
— Herman De Dijn
The Philosopher's Magazine
As a model of public philosophy, [Not For Profit] is exemplary. Anyone familiar with Nussbaum's work will know that a lot is going on beneath the surface, and that her case has more and deeper roots than are on show here. However, she is always careful to argue for her conclusions as fully as is compatible with brevity and accessibility. There are no pronouncements from on high here, only strong arguments, forcefully made.
— Julian Baggini
Belles Lettres
[Nussbaum's] book is a compact, animated, and mellifluous defense of the humanities that makes a powerful case for the ethical imperative of providing the younger generations of the world's democracies with a critical, engaged, liberal-arts based education.
— Erin McGlothlin
European Legacy
Nussbaum's dramatic assessment is not the jeremiad of an old-fashioned bibliophile, but the cry for help of a committed proponent of human freedom.
— Giorgio Baruchello
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities is refreshing in being a scholarly work in the humanities and social sciences from a US author that is not wholly preoccupied with the US. Indeed, one of the most interesting facet's of Nussbaum's work is her comparison of both the historical development and current position of education in the US with education in India which she clearly knows reasonably well.
— Gavin Moodie
The Philosophers' Magazine

As a model of public philosophy, [Not For Profit] is exemplary. Anyone familiar with Nussbaum's work will know that a lot is going on beneath the surface, and that her case has more and deeper roots than are on show here. However, she is always careful to argue for her conclusions as fully as is compatible with brevity and accessibility. There are no pronouncements from on high here, only strong arguments, forcefully made.
— Julian Baggini
Globe & Mail
This book will certainly add weight to Nussbaum's considerable reputation and influence as a major public intellectual. Her core diagnosis is both accurate and compelling. . . . Not for Profit is an important book with an urgent message that should be read and considered by the widest possible audience.
— Paul Russell
Theology and Religion
Nussbaum has produced a book filled with stimulating ideas that not only helps us structure our institutional priorities and pedagogical strategies, but also provides us with the rationale we need to defend our field as we face increasing scrutiny from our students, our institutions, and the public at large.
— Kristi Upson-Saia
Books & Ideas
[I]t is resolutely vigorous and committed, honed for the purpose of public debate.
— Solange Chavel
New York Times Book Review - Mick Sussman
Nussbaum . . . brings to this perennial [education] debate an impassioned urgency . . . and broad erudition. . . . Nussbaum's defense of this worthy cause is deeply learned.
New York Times Opinionator Blog - Stanley Fish
For Nussbaum, human development means the development of the capacity to transcend the local prejudices of one's immediate (even national) context and become a responsible citizen of the world.
Washington Post - Michael Alison Chandler
A comprehensive look at today's worldwide marketplace for college students.
Booklist - Vanessa Bush
This is a passionate call to action at a time when the nation is becoming more culturally diverse and universities are cutting back on humanities programs.
Times Higher Education - Jon Nixon
Against the commercialisation of the academy, [Nussbaum] poses a sentient, Socratic and cosmopolitan vision of higher education.
Chronicle of Higher Education - Michael S. Roth
It's an important and timely plea because the pursuit of so-called useful educational results continues apace, and because the threats to humanistic education are indeed profound.
Australian - Luke Slattery
Nussbaum's ideals are dynamic. Hers is a cosmopolitan humanism oriented towards global citizenship. . . . Not only a spirited defence of the humanities and a lament for their perceived decline, it is a call to action.
Australian - Tim Soutphommasane
[A] short, though-provoking book. . . . Not For Profit offers a passionate and persuasive defence of the humanities. While most of the cases Nussbaum discusses are drawn from the US and India, her argument has undoubted relevance for Australia.
ForeWord - Julia Ann Charpentier
Nussbaum believes that cutting the liberal arts from our academic programs will lead to undereducated graduates. To make responsible decisions, a student must comprehend more than a limited business-oriented curriculum can provide. . . . Not For Profit is required reading for educational administrators, government analysts, and liberal arts instructors at all levels.
Globe and Mail - John Allemang
But when economic growth becomes the focus of education, both democracy and human decency are in jeopardy. In her new book, Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Princeton), acclaimed University of Chicago philosopher and legal scholar Martha Nussbaum argues that our culture of market-driven schooling is headed for a fall.
Globe and Mail - Paul Russell
This book will certainly add weight to Nussbaum's considerable reputation and influence as a major public intellectual. Her core diagnosis is both accurate and compelling. . . . Not for Profit is an important book with an urgent message that should be read and considered by the widest possible audience.
Truthdig - Troy Jollimore
Nussbaum's defense of the value of the humanities is informed, intelligent and deeply plausible—so much so that many readers might find themselves somewhat at a loss as to how our society, and indeed the world in general, has reached the point where such a book is even needed. What could be more obvious, and thus less in need of a defense, than the claim that a strong grounding in the arts and humanities is a great good, both for the individual and for the society in which she lives? . . . I admire this book, as I do all Nussbaum's work, and I could not be more sympathetic to its message.
Common Review - Andrew Benedict-Nelson
[R]efreshingly free of the policy speak and narrow thinking that often dominate works on the subject. . . . Nussbaum's unorthodox method of defining and then demonstrating the value of the humanities is perhaps the most compelling aspect of her book.
Philosophers' Magazine - Julian Baggini
As a model of public philosophy, [Not For Profit] is exemplary. Anyone familiar with Nussbaum's work will know that a lot is going on beneath the surface, and that her case has more and deeper roots than are on show here. However, she is always careful to argue for her conclusions as fully as is compatible with brevity and accessibility. There are no pronouncements from on high here, only strong arguments, forcefully made.
Dissent - David A. Bell
Nussbaum makes a compelling case for the humanities' continuing value and importance.
Philosophy in Review - John A. Scott
This is a little book with a big, and important, message. . . . Nussbaum has long demonstrated her courage as a public intellectual, and this book articulates the liberal vision that sustains her.
Ethical Perspectives - Herman De Dijn
[E]xcellently written.
Belles Lettres - Erin McGlothlin
[Nussbaum's] book is a compact, animated, and mellifluous defense of the humanities that makes a powerful case for the ethical imperative of providing the younger generations of the world's democracies with a critical, engaged, liberal-arts based education.
European Legacy - Giorgio Baruchello
Nussbaum's dramatic assessment is not the jeremiad of an old-fashioned bibliophile, but the cry for help of a committed proponent of human freedom.
Theology and Religion - Kristi Upson-Saia
Nussbaum has produced a book filled with stimulating ideas that not only helps us structure our institutional priorities and pedagogical strategies, but also provides us with the rationale we need to defend our field as we face increasing scrutiny from our students, our institutions, and the public at large.
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management - Gavin Moodie
Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities is refreshing in being a scholarly work in the humanities and social sciences from a US author that is not wholly preoccupied with the US. Indeed, one of the most interesting facet's of Nussbaum's work is her comparison of both the historical development and current position of education in the US with education in India which she clearly knows reasonably well.
Books & Ideas - Solange Chavel
[I]t is resolutely vigorous and committed, honed for the purpose of public debate.
New York Review of Books er Brooks

One turns with some relief to Martha Nussbaum's Not for Profit, and her impassioned . . . argument in favor of study of the humanities.
From the Publisher
"[E]xcellently written."—Herman De Dijn, Ethical Perspectives

"As a model of public philosophy, [Not For Profit] is exemplary. Anyone familiar with Nussbaum's work will know that a lot is going on beneath the surface, and that her case has more and deeper roots than are on show here. However, she is always careful to argue for her conclusions as fully as is compatible with brevity and accessibility. There are no pronouncements from on high here, only strong arguments, forcefully made."—Julian Baggini, The Philosophers' Magazine

"[Nussbaum's] book is a compact, animated, and mellifluous defense of the humanities that makes a powerful case for the ethical imperative of providing the younger generations of the world's democracies with a critical, engaged, liberal-arts based education."—Erin McGlothlin, Belles Lettres

"Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities is refreshing in being a scholarly work in the humanities and social sciences from a US author that is not wholly preoccupied with the US. Indeed, one of the most interesting facet's of Nussbaum's work is her comparison of both the historical development and current position of education in the US with education in India which she clearly knows reasonably well."—Gavin Moodie, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management

"[I]t is resolutely vigorous and committed, honed for the purpose of public debate."—Solange Chavel, Books & Ideas

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400834228
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/12/2010
  • Series: Public Square Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 178
  • File size: 272 KB

Meet the Author

Martha C. Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School at the University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, including "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law "(Princeton).
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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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Should be required reading for everybody interested in education - highly recommended!

    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’.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 6, 2012

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    Posted February 21, 2011

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    Posted April 11, 2012

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