Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Her works include Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defence of Liberal Education and Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life.


Nussbaum v. Unger

4 September 1997

Peter Singer’s response (Letters, 16 October) to my review of Peter Unger’s book is strange, for he defends the aspects of the book that I praised and says nothing in defence of those that I criticised. I did not hold the non-originality of Unger’s examples against him, I simply pointed it out. I said that Unger’s ‘discussions of the distinction between duties to rescue and duties to aid,...

If Oxfam ran the world

Martha Nussbaum, 4 September 1997

The basic life chances of human beings vary dramatically around the world. According to the 1996 Report of the United Nations Development Programme, the life expectancy of a child born today in Sierra Leone is 39.2 years, the life expectancy of a child born in Japan 79.6 years (US 76.1, UK 76.3). In the developing world, daily calorie supply per capita ranges from 3223 in Barbados to 1505 in Somalia. The availability of these calories is not equally distributed in any nation, which means that there are many who suffer acute hunger. In Hong Kong in 1996, 100 per cent of the population had access to safe water, in China 67 per cent, in Haiti 28 per cent, in the Central African Republic 18 per cent, in Afghanistan 12 per cent. These facts suggest that there are big problems of human misery in the world, problems that should be addressed by theories both of personal morality and of global justice.

Let them eat oysters: Animal Ethics

Lorna Finlayson, 5 October 2023

It hardly needs to be said that all is not well with our world. We are disempowered, isolated and (quite rationally) anxious about the future. The animal world offers both an escape and the promise of...

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How to Write It: India after Independence

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, 20 September 2007

It may seem perverse to begin an essay on India by invoking a historian of France: Eugen Weber, who died this year, a colleague of mine and a formidable presence at UCLA. He wrote a book in 1976...

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Liberalism has been dogged by the suspicion that its commitment to tolerance is essentially duplicitous. The goal of respecting each person’s equal right to choose for herself how to live...

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How do they see you? Martha Nussbaum

Elizabeth Spelman, 16 November 2000

On the occasion of a meeting of the American Philosophical Association some years ago, hotel housekeepers were overheard commenting that in comparison with other conventioneers, philosophers...

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Rat Poison

David Bromwich, 17 October 1996

Martha Nussbaum is a classical scholar and moral philosopher who in several books and a great many essays has advanced a thesis about the cognitive power of emotions. Feeling, she says, is part...

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Do not disturb

Bernard Williams, 20 October 1994

This is a book about therapeutic philosophy, the philosopher as doctor. It is a historical work, concerned with the schools of philosophy that developed in the Hellenistic period, the period in...

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