Sunday, February 12, 2012

Martha Nussbaum: "Humanities key to democracy" (audio)

Professor Martha Nussbaum talked about her recent book "Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities" at Stanford University, February 2, 2012.

An audio excerpt of her talk is available here (26 minutes).

Excerpts from a report from the event:
As knowledge of history, culture, language, and religion can prepare students for political engagement, it can also help them cope with the struggles inherent to the human psyche. Experiments have shown the surprising degree to which people are prone to peer pressure, bullying, and deference to authority. Studies such as professor Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment illustrate how little it takes for us to quickly dehumanize our fellow man and see him as subordinate or as “the other.” [....]
In closing, Nussbaum reiterated the idea that arts and humanities education (....) not only “shape people who are able to see other human beings as full people with thoughts and feelings,” but also build “nations that are able to overcome fear and suspicion in favor of sympathetic and well reasoned debate.”

See my post on Martha Nussbaum's book here.

Martha Nussbaum is Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.

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