Times of India Interviews Martha Nussbaum

I'd question Modi on Gujarat – why doesn't Congress? Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum is a leading American philosopher and academic. In India at the opening of the University of Chicago's Delhi Centre, Nussbaum spoke with Srijana Mitra Das about philosophy, India and America's acceptance of intellectuals - and Narendra Modi's Gujarat model:

Theorist Stanley Fish says all philosophy helps you do is more philosophy. It doesn't help the real world. Your view?

Well, Stanley liked my approach in my book Political Emotions, which is to use philosophy in a way that really talks about policy. I think Stanley doesn't like a sterile philosophy that cuts itself off from practice. Look at the great tradition of Western political philosophy. Those people were all immersed in revolutionary movements. Most weren't career academics - often, they were too radical to be accepted in the academy. Rousseau's books were banned. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill couldn't hold academic positions because they were atheists. In that field, to talk only to academics and not relate to the real world is wrong. You have to connect your work to what people are doing.

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