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Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (The Public Square) di [Nussbaum, Martha C.]
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"Nussbaum makes a persuasive case."--New Yorker

"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 Book Review

"One turns with some relief to Martha Nussbaum's Not for Profit, and her impassioned . . . argument in favor of study of the humanities."--Peter Brooks, New York Review of Books

"Against the commercialisation of the academy, [Nussbaum] poses a sentient, Socratic and cosmopolitan vision of higher education."--Jon Nixon, Times Higher Education

"A comprehensive look at today's worldwide marketplace for college students."--Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post

"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, Chronicle of Higher Education

"Moving deftly between analysis and and polemic, the author draws on education practices in India, experimental psychology, the works of such liberal education proponents as Dewey and Tagore to emphasize the importance of critical pedagogy for the development of individual responsibility, innovation, and self-examination. . . . [I]n advocating educational curriculums that recognize the worth of personal development and creative thought, this slim book is itself a small but decisive step in the effort to broaden and enrich current pedagogical practices."--Publishers Weekly

"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, New York Times Opinionator Blog

"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, Booklist

"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."--Luke Slattery, 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, Australian

"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, ForeWord

"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."--John Allemang, 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, Globe and Mail

"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, Truthdig

"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."--Diversity Web

"[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, Common Review

"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, Philosophers' Magazine

"Nussbaum makes a compelling case for the humanities' continuing value and importance."--David A. Bell, Dissent

"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, Philosophy in Review

"[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


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 been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry in the United States and abroad. 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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  • Formato: Formato Kindle
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  • Lunghezza stampa: 189
  • Editore: Princeton University Press; With a New afterword by the author edizione (25 marzo 2012)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B0073X0JFI
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  • Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: #137.793 a pagamento nel Kindle Store (Visualizza i Top 100 a pagamento nella categoria Kindle Store)
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) 3.6 su 5 stelle 27 recensioni
144 di 155 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
2.0 su 5 stelle Disappointing 21 luglio 2010
Di J. Marlin - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
I was very much looking forward to this book as I have enjoyed and learned from Martha Nussbaum's writing in the past. Moreover, I strongly believe in the general thrust of this book -- that the humanities are being undervalued as our colleges and public schools become more and more career oriented. I teach humanities (English and Philosophy) myself, so I was predisposed to her thesis before I even picked it up.

But I found the argument to be mediocre at best; in fact, the whole book read like it was a journal article that had been stretched, padded, and embellished to meet the minimal page count to be credibly marketed as a book. There's also something of a dashed-off quality to the prose, lots of repetition from chapter to chapter along with loose sentences, incomplete thoughts, vagueness, and other signs of haste.

The book makes a decent case for critical thinking, but seems to lack that quality itself -- it unhesitatingly endorses the educational thinking of Rousseau, Dewey, and Tragore without critically engaging their thought or methods. Nussbaum argues that we need critical thinking in order to challenge traditions without seeming to be aware that she is simply making claims based on authorities that form a tradition, and, indeed, lots of educators and philosophers challenge these approaches. And she nowhere critically engages the possibility that some traditions might be valuable.

I am reminded that Mark Edmundson cogently observed that what passes for critical thinking these days is using methods of thought and vocabulary that one doesn't really believe to debunk world views one would rather not be challenged by. I fear that Nussbaum's approach to critical thinking would probably lead to that kind of superficiality.

Nussbaum's desire to mold students into "citizens of the world" whose perspective is global is, to me, naive idealism (and revealing of the political agenda behind her thinking). I'm all for students learning as much as they can about other cultures and political systems -- at least there we agree -- but there is no all-encompassing global perspective that can embrace, say, strict Sharia laws that force women into subservience and Western feminism (I could give a legion of other examples). Moreover, Nussbaum casually drops in the tired old trinity of "race, gender and class" enough to make me think that she would embrace crass West-bashing, such as we have seen in culture studies programs for decades now -- the kind that forgets that critical thinking is foundational to the Western tradition (indeed, she invokes Socrates at several junctures). (And please, I know that the West is not without fault, and that its faults should be exposed and corrected; but the West is not without virtue, and all too often those virtues are ignored or denigrated.)

I agree entirely that our students (and future workers, managers, leaders) need to be skilled at critical thinking and have educated imaginations, and I wholeheartedly endorse the book's title and theme: "Not for Profit." Among the great things about the humanities is that they help us to live complete and meaningful lives and to see things from other perspectives beyond that of "how is this going to make me money." In fact, I like to joke with my students that the great benefit of a humanities degree is that I can B.S. myself into believing I am happier with my pittance of a salary than I would be as a millionaire tycoon.

I simply don't think this book is worthy of Martha Nussbaum's powers as a thinker and a writer. She's better than this, and I expect she'll prove that on her next outing.
47 di 57 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
2.0 su 5 stelle Surprised and unconvinced 30 luglio 2010
Di J. Chan - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
Nussbaum calls her book 'a manifesto'. Her manifesto on why democracy needs the humanities is made up of 6 interlocking propositions: (1) there is a crisis going on in education today; (2) this crisis is the shedding away of the humanities, which produce the necessary espirit de corps and competencies for an active and productive democracy; (3) this shedding away of the humanities can be attributed to the growth-oriented economy, which prefers professional skill-ism rather than the critical thinking skills and the imaginative empathy cultivated by the humanities; (4) at the same time, events in the world today are heading in the direction where more international cooperation and collaboration is needed, which must surely demand critical thinking and imaginative empathy for cross-cultural work; (5) however, we are heading in the opposite direction through our present attention on standardized testing and technically oriented education directives, which produce "useful machines" (pp. 2) but not imaginative and empathetic human beings; (6) hence, not only do we ultimately undermine our own cherished democracy, but ultimately too we undermine the solidarity needed for a universal democracy that can solve universal problems affecting all.

To be fair, we will have to take Nussbaum's argument one step deeper: that societies, and hence to a certain extent also publicly funded universities in many places, prefer practical skill-ism rather than the humanities. Since the growth-oriented economy requires skillful workers who can obey and work rather than to question and think, classes oriented to imparting practical or applied skills are much more favored by policy-makers, bosses, parents and students alike--because everyone in this squarish ecology seemed well-pleased. However, even growth demands people who possess the abilities to think and imagine creatively, and the humanities can help to cultivate that. Therefore, it is according to Nussbaum, never an 'either/or' for or against the humanities; rather, we can have both growth and the humanities. As a matter of her opinion, to have growth we ought to invest and grow the humanities.

I leave you to ponder on Nussbaum's surprising acquiescence. But the strangeness of this acquiescence to incorporate the humanities into the growth-oriented economy is surely, and only, because of Nussbaum's paradoxical nullification of the very thing she sought to defend in this book: how is it possible to defend the humanities by deliberately subjecting, and designing the humanities so that it can support growth (i.e., economically oriented growth laced with many externalities)? Thankfully Nussbaum's did not say how, beyond these hints, and to what extent this can be done. But at least one thing is clear: the kind of growth Nussbaum criticizes is also the kind of growth that bears no special allegiance to anything or anyone; as long as something expands the economy in the short-term, this something is valued. Thus to expect growth to value the humanities because the humanities seem to impart valuable fundamental and hence, somewhat long-term competencies with uncertain outcome is naive at best.

And half expecting this book to fulfill its large graphical and title promise on the critique of the for profit system (i.e., "NOT FOR PROFIT..."), Nussbaum unfortunately did not venture into the intricacies of the 'FOR PROFIT' teleology working at every level of the society today. Instead what Nussbaum presented is a defense for Socratic pedagogy and a fastpaced clip through the ideas of several education progressivists, names like Rousseau, Dewey and Tagore. I don't think Socrates needs to be defended again; and I certainly don't think Rousseau is as innocent as Nussbaum made him to be, or Dewey so easily and swiftly understood. Rather, I think that both Socrates and Rousseau et al.--the progressivists--are misplaced as two whole chapters in a book with a more critical and urgent mission. For these reasons, I am also not convinced.

In more than a few places Nussbaum makes uncritical statements that seem at odds with the overall thesis in her manifesto, for example, "knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior" (pp.81). Well, that depends on what kind of ignorance one speaks of. Arrogant and inconsiderate ignorance, yes, of course. But humble and considered ignorance: isn't that the goal of Socratic teaching and the beginning of knowledge? Similarly but on a broader interpretation, Nussbaum's uncritical call for the 'universal citizen' or the cosmopolitan citizen demands a very careful review: who and to what extent, can be a citizen of the world today and for what purpose or mission? And what are the underlying ethos of such a global citizenship? What are its underlying binding values? Without answering these questions, we can only suspect that what Nussbaum has in mind as the underlying ethos is the ideal form of democracy that she is familiar with. This is unlikely to go well with everyone in the world today. Not only so, Nussbaum's uncritical call is likely to exacerbate her very quest for a productive citizenship of the world.

In all, I think this manifesto is a missed opportunity for a stronger and a more convincing call-to-arms in the humanities today. Insofar as Nussbaum's premise is concerned, I think it is relevant for the complex crisis the world is facing today: what to do at the limits of the market economy and how to deal with the threats of the environment at its limits. However, Nussbaum's subsequent arguments stray too often from the deeper and much more urgent mission that her premises promised.
16 di 21 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle A thoughtful and important book. 27 giugno 2010
Di Book Junkie - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
In this book the author reminds us that a successful democracy requires citizens who can engage in reasoned argument and who have the ability to see issues from multiple points of view. Liberal education fosters both abilities, and therefore is essential to democracy. So runs Nussbaum's straightforward argument in this educational manifesto. Nussbaum also points out that liberal education is under threat in the few countries where it has been established at all, an observation that is confirmed by recent events taking place at British universities (the attempt to make philosophy professors redundant at Kings College and the closing of the philosophy department at Middlesex). Overall this is good piece of writing, combining passionate enthusiasm with calm arguments and informative examples. Not for Profit reminds us all that the deeper purposes of liberal education go well beyond personal advancement or national competitiveness. A thoughtful and important book.
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle The good Life as requiring Education in the Humanities 21 giugno 2012
Di Shalom Freedman - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
Martha Nussbaum is one of the world's most courageous and capable public intellectuals. As a moral philosopher she has not been content to confine her insights to the Academy but has again and again taken responsible positions on major issues of the day. Here she argues against the current downsizing of the Humanities in the academic world. She makes the case that the single- minded focus on economic growth has led to a distortion in priorities and values. She is concerned that those educated only to be productive economically, scientifically , technologically will lack the human empathy, and imagination, the knowledge of other worlds and cultures, the ability to research and understand worlds not one's own, the critical thought all vital to being responsible democratic citizens. She makes a case for a kind of broad education most commensurate with full development of individual human powers.
As one educated primarily in the humanities I wonder if she does not downplay the problematics of such education, including its often leading to intellectual confusion, paralysis, a sense of the loss of all meaning and purpose, a feeling of weariness at the endless over- interpretation of everything often involved in humanistic study.
But I believe given the current atmosphere in the university world and global economy the emphasis she places is correct for this time.
4 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
3.0 su 5 stelle Learned, but not sufficiently persuasive 24 agosto 2010
Di Jay C. Smith - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
I share the disappointment of certain other reviewers with this book. While Martha Nussbaum's position here -- a defense of the value of a humanities education -- will appeal to many (me included), based on her eminence and her admirable previous work one would expect her case to be better argued than it is.

Nussbaum stresses how the humanities strengthen democratic citizenship by fostering critical thinking, encouraging us to transcend mere local loyalties, and exercising our ability to imagine sympathetically the predicaments of others.

One troubling deficiency is that she gives us primarily just opinions, little significant empirical evidence, that the humanities indeed do these things. Nor does she even consider that there might be other means to achieve the same ends, either through formal education (doesn't science require critical thinking, for instance?) or otherwise (how about transacting business as a means of broadening understanding of others, for example?).

Further, as it turns out, it is not just the humanities per se that she is advocating. A good part of her argument revolves around the merits of Socratic inquiry, including for young children. She also promotes the value of play and cooperative activity. Her educational formula is a concoction of the ideas of Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Alcott, Mann, Froebel, Dewey, Winnicott, and Tagore.

She touches lightly and uncritically on the programs of each of these men, giving somewhat more attention to Tagore. Her knowledge of him and of education in India are areas where I gained some value from this book, as I suspect may be true for many other American readers.

Nussbaum believes that liberal arts education has been better rooted in America than in Europe or India, where a single-subject emphasis has been the norm. Yet she does not tell us whether she thinks that democratic practice is relatively stronger in the U.S. than in those other nations as a consequence (the conclusion that would seem to follow from her premises, unless there are other unmentioned factors that outweigh educational content, which there may well be).

Her chief concern is that the arts and humanities apparently now face cuts all over the world, including the U.S., in favor of technical programs aimed at economic growth. She does not say just how this trend might be reversed, but even those who share her views may be skeptical that books like Not for Profit will do much to sway policy-makers.
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