Martha C. Nussbaum

What If Your Humanitarian Donations Are Making Things Worse?
October 07, 2014

Economist Angus Deaton's book argues that foreign aid donations could be hurting, not helping those in need.

It's Time to Take Back Our Aging, Smelly Bodies
October 06, 2014

Why it's important to resist shame and disgust.

A Liberal Education
March 11, 2011

Last month was decision time for the many academics who left their tenured jobs to work in the Obama administration. Universities standardly grant leave for at most two years, at which point a professor must either return or resign. Some, of course, can hope to be rehired later, but prudence often rules. Many of my acquaintances made the choice to return to writing and teaching. A few have stayed on. For a long time I’ve been comparing my free and sheltered life to those exposed and difficult lives, with a mixture of relief and guilt.

What We Could Learn From India and Korea
August 13, 2010

In my last column, I argued that Singapore and China, so often praised for their achievements in education, are terrible models, bad even at generating a creative and accountable business culture, and hopeless in forming the preconditions of stable democracy. Rejecting their guidance, however, does not mean that we should turn away from Asia for insight. The humanistic traditions of both Korea and India offer much that we should applaud. Korea today is the only nation in the world, outside the U.S., that strongly promotes a liberal arts model of college and university education.

The Ugly Models
July 01, 2010

American leaders, impressed by the economic success of Singapore and China, frequently sound envious when talking about those countries’ educational systems. President Obama, for example, invoked Singapore in a March 2009 speech, saying that educators there “are spending less time teaching things that don’t matter, and more time teaching things that do. They are preparing their students not only for high school or college, but for a career.

A Passion for Truth
April 01, 2010

These are grim times for the academic humanities. Seen as useless frills, which nations can prune away to focus on the “things that really matter”—by which the speaker so often means “things that contribute to national economic growth”—the humanistic disciplines are being cut at all levels, from elementary school to college and university. Even worse, they are being asked (on pain of extinction) to refashion themselves as tools of profit, demonstrating the (economic) “impact” of their inquiries.

The Passion Fashion
September 11, 2009

A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First CenturyBy Cristina Nehring (Harper, 328 pp., $24.99) Women today are too risk-averse in love, charges Cristina Nehring. We “settle,” and seek comfort rather than passion. In flight from pain, we end up too often with mediocre and cramped relationships.

The Prohibition Era
March 20, 2006

COVERING: THE HIDDEN ASSAULT ON OUR CIVIL RIGHTS. By Kenji Yoshino(Random House, 268 pp., $24.95)  I. IN 1998, A Missouri court granted custody to a lesbian mother, after finding that “the children were unaware of Mother’s sexual preference, and Mother never engaged in any sexual or affectionate behavior in the presence of the children.” Many courts have gone the other way, after determining that same-sex parents engaged not in overt sexual conduct that would be inappropriate for any parent to display before any child, but in displays of affection, such as hugging or holding hands, which clear

The Founder
February 14, 2005

Nehru: A Political Life By Judith M.

When She Was Good
December 31, 2001

Both novelist and philosopher, Iris Murdoch was an anomaly.