Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice

Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice

by Martha C. Nussbaum
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Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice

How can we achieve and sustain a "decent" liberal society, one that aspires to justice and equal opportunity for all and inspires individuals to sacrifice for the common good? In this book, a continuation of her explorations of emotions and the nature of social justice, Martha Nussbaum makes the case for love. Amid the fears, resentments, and competitive concerns that are endemic even to good societies, public emotions rooted in love--in intense attachments to things outside our control--can foster commitment to shared goals and keep at bay the forces of disgust and envy.

Great democratic leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., have understood the importance of cultivating emotions. But people attached to liberalism sometimes assume that a theory of public sentiments would run afoul of commitments to freedom and autonomy. Calling into question this perspective, Nussbaum investigates historical proposals for a public "civil religion" or "religion of humanity" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, and Rabindranath Tagore. She offers an account of how a decent society can use resources inherent in human psychology, while limiting the damage done by the darker side of our personalities. And finally she explores the cultivation of emotions that support justice in examples drawn from literature, song, political rhetoric, festivals, memorials, and even the design of public parks.

"Love is what gives respect for humanity its life," Nussbaum writes, "making it more than a shell." Political Emotions is a challenging and ambitious contribution to political philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674724655
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

1 A Problem in the History of Liberalism 1

I History

2 Equality and Love: Rousseau, Herder, Mozart 27

3 Religions of Humanity I: Auguste Comte, J. S. Mill 54

4 Religions of Humanity II: Rabindranath Tagore 82

II Goals, Resources, Problems

Introduction to Part II 112

5 The Aspiring Society: Equality, Inclusion, Distribution 115

6 Compassion: Human and Animal 137

7 "Radical Evil": Helplessness, Narcissism, Contamination 161

III Public Emotions

Introduction to Part III 200

8 Teaching Patriotism: Love and Critical Freedom 204

9 Tragic and Comic Festivals: Shaping Compassion, Transcending Disgust 257

10 Compassion's Enemies: Fear, Envy, Shame 314

11 How Love Matters for Justice 378

Appendix. Emotion Theory, Emotions in Music: Upheavals of Thought 399

Notes 405

References 437

Acknowledgments 449

Index 453

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