Not for Profit. Why Democracy Needs the Humanities.
Princeton University Press, Princeton / Oxford, 2010. XV,158p. Half cloth wrps. 'Increasingly viewed as 'useless' by politicians, humanities and arts programming is being replaced by technical training courses in sciences, engineering and technology in the name of economic gain. While technical skills are important for the future health of nations, Nussbaum said that they alone do not make for a fully educated student. Without people with a liberal arts background, she said, the world would be filled with 'narrow, technically trained workers, rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticize tradition and authority, and understand the significance of another person's sufferings and achievements.' These so-called soft-skills are essential for developing a 'decent world culture' and maintaining healthy democracies, she said. Study of history and culture imparts the ability to approach global issues as a citizen of the world. Study of philosophy teaches the critical thinking skills that help us reason about our choices. Participation in the creative arts fosters an empathetic capacity and, Nussbaum said, 'allows us to imagine the challenges facing someone unlike ourselves.' (...) Nussbaum quoted Socrates, who argued that democracy needs citizens who can think for themselves and reason together about their choices rather than just deferring to authority. Young people, Nussbaum said, will have a hope of holding politicians accountable only if they know how to think critically about what they hear, 'testing its logic and imagining alternatives to it.' (CORRIE GOLDMAN in Stanford Report, February 10, 2012 about the lecture Nussbaum has given at Stanford's Cubberley Auditorium).