Martha Nussbaum thinks we shouldn't lose our tempers. Good luck with thatby Julian Baggini / August 18, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
When a philosopher writes a book with five abstract nouns in a six-word title, you might justly fear a laboured tome of desiccating logical analysis. When the author is Martha Nussbaum, however, you can be reassured. Nussbaum is one of the most productive and insightful thinkers of her generation, though strangely undervalued in the UK. She combines a philosopher’s demand for conceptual clarity and rigorous thinking with a novelist’s interest in narrative, art and literature. The result is an impressive body of work spanning the overlapping territories of politics, ethics and the emotions.
Her latest work examines the significance of anger and forgiveness in the intimate and political spheres, as well as in the “middle realm” between them in which we interact with each other as colleagues, acquaintances and fellow citizens. It belongs to a genre entirely of its own, a kind of highbrow political-, social- and self-improvement.
Its core thesis is summed up in her…