Synopsis Philosophers since Aristotle have explored emotion, so the new emphasis on emotion in Anglo-American philosophy is the rediscovery of a discipline that is very old and has always been essential to the "love of wisdom. In this volume, I have tried to bring together some of the best Anglo-American philosophers now writing on the philosophy of emotion. I have solicited chapters from those philosophers who have already distinguished themselves in the field of emotion research and have interdisciplinary interests, particularly in the social sciences.
She began the book by acknowledging:.
Nussbaum describes motherhood as her first profound experience of moral conflict. Her pregnancy, in , was a mistake; her I. She goes off and has a baby. Her husband took a picture of her reading. She was at a Society of Fellows dinner the next week.
Alan Nussbaum taught linguistics at Yale, and during the week Martha took care of their daughter, Rachel, alone. They divorced when Rachel was a teen-ager. They were just frightened. This was the only time that Nussbaum had anything resembling a crisis in her career. I was eager to hear about her moment of doubt, since she always seemed so steely. Instead, she began considering a more public role for philosophy.
She was steered toward the issue by Amartya Sen, the Indian economist, who later won the Nobel Prize. In , they became romantically involved and worked together at the World Institute of Development Economics Research, in Helsinki.
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Her earlier work had celebrated vulnerability, but now she identified the sorts of vulnerabilities poverty, hunger, sexual violence that no human should have to endure. In an Aristotelian spirit, Nussbaum devised a list of ten essential capabilities that all societies should nourish, including the freedom to play, to engage in critical reflection, and to love. Nussbaum argued that Rawls gave an unsatisfactory account of justice for people dependent on others—the disabled, the elderly, and women subservient in their homes.
She believes that the humanities are not just important to a healthy democratic society but decisive, shaping its fate.
Once she began studying the lives of women in non-Western countries, she identified as a feminist but of the unfashionable kind: a traditional liberal who believed in the power of reason at a time when postmodern scholars viewed it as an instrument or a disguise for oppression. She argued that the well-being of women around the world could be improved through universal norms—an international system of distributive justice.
She was impatient with feminist theory that was so relativistic that it assumed that, in the name of respecting other cultures, women should stand by while other women were beaten or genitally mutilated. Such people, he implies, are the most despicable of all. It had become untethered from the practical struggle to achieve equality for women.
The sense of concern and being held is what I associate with my mother, and the sense of surging and delight is what I associate with my father. She has always been drawn to intellectually distinguished men. Her spacious tenth-floor apartment, which has twelve windows overlooking Lake Michigan and an elevator that delivers visitors directly into her foyer, is decorated with dozens of porcelain, metal, and glass elephants—her favorite animal, because of its emotional intelligence. Nussbaum is preoccupied by the ways that philosophical thinking can seem at odds with passion and love.
One tear, one argument. Anger is an emotion that she now rarely experiences. She invariably remains friends with former lovers, a fact that Sunstein, Sen, and Alan Nussbaum wholeheartedly affirmed. I simply deny the charge. For a long time, Nussbaum had seemed to be working on getting in touch with anger. When I asked her about the different self-conceptions, she wrote me three e-mails from a plane to Mexico she was on her way to give lectures in Puebla to explain that she had articulated these views before she had studied the emotion in depth.
Last year, Nussbaum had a colonoscopy. She was thrilled by the sight of her appendix, so pink and tiny.
Her friends were repulsed when she told them that she had been awake the entire time. Bodily functions do not embarrass her, either. When she goes on long runs, she has no problem urinating behind bushes.
Thinking about Feeling : Contemporary Philosophers on Emotions | Ebook | Ellibs Ebookstore
Once, when she was in Paris with her daughter, Rachel, who is now an animal-rights lawyer in Denver, she peed in the garden of the Tuileries Palace at night. Nussbaum acknowledges that, as she ages, it becomes harder to rejoice in all bodily developments. Sinking cartilage had created a new bump. She asked the doctor who gives her Botox in her forehead what to do. I care how men look at me. I like men. The book is structured as a dialogue between two aging scholars, analyzing the way that old age affects love, friendship, inequality, and the ability to cede control.
They both reject the idea that getting old is a form of renunciation.
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The thin red jellies within you or within me. O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul. At a faculty workshop last summer, professors at the law school gathered to critique drafts of two chapters from the book. Nussbaum wore a fitted purple dress and high-heeled sandals, and her blond hair looked as if it had recently been permed.
She appeared to be dressed for a different event from the one that the other professors were attending. As she often does, she looked delighted but not necessarily happy. The libertarian scholar Richard Epstein raised his hand and said that, rather than having a national policy regarding retirement, each institution should make its own decision. I might go off and do some interesting thing like be a cantor.