With Martha Nussbaum, the ‘Captain of Her Soul’

Martha Nussbaum.jpg

Rachel Aviv’s piece on Martha Nussbaum, published in The New Yorker, really is a wonderful read:

“To be a good human being,” [Nussbaum] has said, “is to have a kind of openness to the world, the ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered” …

For a society to remain stable and committed to democratic principles, [Nussbaum] argued, it needs more than detached moral principles: it has to cultivate certain emotions and teach people to enter empathetically into others’ lives …

Last year, Nussbaum had a colonoscopy. She didn’t want to miss a workday, so she refused sedation. She was thrilled by the sight of her appendix, so pink and tiny. “It’s such a big part of you and you don’t get to meet these parts,” she told me. “I love that kind of familiarization: it’s like coming to terms with yourself.”

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