WMUK Interviews Nussbaum About Democracy and the Humanities

WMU speaker links democracy and the humanities
Andy Robins
January 25, 2011

A scholar at the University of Chicago Law School says a democratic society depends on the humanities. But Professor Martha Nussbaum says those subjects are getting less and less attention in schools, colleges and universities. Nussbaum will speak about the issue Thursday, January 27, at Western Michigan University.

In her recent book Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Nussbaum says education in the U.S. and other countries increasingly focuses on narrow technical and job-related courses. She calls that "Education for Profit" in contrast with an "Education for Democracy". Nussbaum says critical thinking and the ability to question authority, a knowledge of global complexity, and learning to see through the eyes of people from very different backgrounds are all crucial to a democratic society. She argues that education in the humanities cultivates those qualities.

Martha C. Nussbaum