Martha Nussbaum: “There’s no tension in supporting #MeToo and defending legal sex work”

Martha Nussbaum

The philosopher on sexual harassment, the connections between philosophy and literature, and how she plans to spend her $1m Berggruen Prize.

Martha Nussbaum is one of the most influential philosophers writing today. Her work on the philosophical import of literature and the cognitive content of our emotions has reshaped the academic landscape and given us a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. Nussbaum has staunchly defended the rights of disenfranchised women and put forward a controversial defense of prostitution on the liberal grounds of freedom and choice. She has also helped develop a “capabilities approach” to social justice, that asks us to look at the concrete opportunities people have to be who they want to be when we make decisions about organising our society. Finally, Nussbaum has passionately defended the place of humanities in higher education, arguing that the study of literature, history, and philosophy provide the critical and imaginative skills required for democratic citizenship.

In October 2018, Nussbaum won the $1m Berggruen Prize for philosophy and culture. She told Aaron James Wendland about the work that has defined her career and what she plans to do next.

Congratulations on winning the Berggruen Prize! Can you tell our readers a bit about the prize and what winning it means to you?

The Berggruen Prize is awarded by Nicolas Berggruen and the Berggruen Institute. The Institute believes philosophical reflection is important for social and personal well-being, so it decided to devote a large sum of money to the support of philosophy. The prize is only three years old, and the million-dollar reward is designed to draw attention to the work of philosophers and to get their writings more widely read. The winner of the prize is chosen by a committee of world-renowned academics, and it is currently chaired by …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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