"Nussbaum's book raises many interesting questions and adds to the body of cognitive theories of emotion." Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
"In this massive study, Nussbaum takes the perennial boxing match between thought and perception to a brilliant new register...This huge book has its ups and downs, but it has the feel of a major achievement." Publishers Weekly (starred)
"[Upheavals of Thought] unites in an original and altogether personal way the philosophy of the emotions with the texture of life and the experience of art...Upheavals of Thought is what Henry James, one of Nussbaum's favorite authors, would have called 'a great, glittering thing.'" Los Angeles Times Book Review
"As with any brilliant synthetic work, then, Nussbaum's book leaves us wondering whether things really fit together so neatly...Nussbaum's has taught us a lot about love, in this book and elsewhere." Chicago Tribune
"[Nussbaum] is among America's most prolific and prominent public intellectuals, with many causes to her credit, to all of which she brings extraordinary scholarly and liberal credentials...it is a brave and civilized book. And at a time when we need above all an understanding of political emotions,its subject could not be more welcome." The New Republic
"This remarkable book is really three books, written by someone who has such an extraordinarily capacious mind that she easily examines topics in ancient, modern, and contemporary philosophy, as well as in literature, law, music, psychology, and religion. Her prose is lucid...Her arguments are clear. Her organizational skills allow her to introduce lenghty discussions of quite diverse topics and still offer a coherent thesis. This book instructs and delights on nearly every page." Catholic Studies Book Review
"...impressive for its breadth of learning and for imaginative speculation...she does succeed at an erudite series of contemplation, sparkling with insights." Salem Press
"[Nussbaum] is among America's most prolific and prominent public intellectuals, with many causes to her credit, to all of which she brings extraordinary scholarly and liberal credentials...it is a brave and civilized book. And at a time when we need above all an understanding of political emotions, its subject could not be more welcome." The New Republic
"[Upheavals of Thought] is a staggering feat of synthesis, reflecting not only Nussbaum's wide-ranging expertise in philosophy, law, divinity, classics, Asian studies and gender studies but recent developments in cognitive psychology, anthropology and psychanalysis as well...extraordinary achievement of this book." THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Nov 2001
"Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions is impressive for breadth of learning and for imaginative speculation, rather than for careful reasoning....[Nussbaum] does succeed at an erudite series of contemplation, sparkling with insights." Salem Press
"Upheavals of Thought is once again to be commended for both drawing attention to and trying to change for the better the complex workings of emotion in our social lives. Her work is both philosophically stimulating and admirable."
Charles Starkey, Philosophical Psychology
Nussbaum's excellent reviews and essays are well known to readers of the New Republic, while her book Love's Knowledge has become a campus classic of literary philosophy. In this massive study, Nussbaum takes the perennial boxing match between thought and perception to a brilliant new register. Her contention is that our perceptions of the world are not colored by what and how we know, but rather by what and how we feel: "Emotions are forms of intense attention and engagement, in which the world is appraised in its relation to the self" i.e., "emotions are forms of judgment." This huge book has its ups and downs, but it has the feel of a major achievement. Its 16 chapters are broken into three sections. The first draws on diverse examples of "Need and Recognition," including animal emotion, the Neo-Stoics and "American grief" to establish its cognitive ground. In the second and best section, "Compassion," Nussbaum develops a systematic logic regarding the emotions, which advocates compassion in public life, and provides a fascinating critique of neoliberalism. Less successful is the long final section detailing, Love's Knowledge-style, love as it is found in the art and thought of Augustine, Dante, Emily Bront , Mahler, Whitman, Joyce and other figures. But the book begins with the death of Nussbaum's mother, which reverberates throughout these pages; it is part of Nussbaum's genius that the autobiographical details about this circumstance do not seem extraneous at all (and they are sometimes surprising). For Nussbaum, a particular moment in time and, crucially, its retelling, express a systematic understanding, and a mastery of the circumstances that created it an idea for which thisbook provides ample evidence. (Oct.) Forecast: Given Nussbaum's status in journalism, this book should be widely reviewed; major, career-summing profiles of the peripatetic philosopher could result. This could be one of those scholarly works that crosses over because of its refusal to compromise, rather than in spite of it. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Nussbaum, a distinguished philosopher and classicist now at the University of Chicago, ably defends a cognitive view of emotions that owes much to the Stoics. In this view, "emotions are appraisals or value judgments, which ascribe to things or persons outside the person's own control great importance for that person's own flourishing." She endeavors to show that the emotions of animals can be studied within this framework. Grief occupies a prominent role in Part 1, compassion in Part 2, and love in the concluding part. Here she distinguishes among Platonic, Christian, and Romantic views of love, finding much of value in each but expressing concern that these views dangerously attempt to transcend the limits of the body. Throughout, sensitive interpretations of literary texts by Dante, Proust, Joyce, Whitman, and others illuminate and extend her approach to the emotions. She also discusses music and the emotions, with careful attention to Mahler. This is an original and carefully fleshed-out view; highly recommended for all libraries. David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.