Philosophers / Thinkers

Top 80 Martha Nussbaum Quotes (PHILOSOPHY)

Top 10 Most Famous Martha Nussbaum Quotes (BEST)

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.”

Martha Nussbaum
Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.
Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.

“As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves.”

Martha Nussbaum
You can’t really change the heart without telling a story.
You can’t really change the heart without telling a story.

“As human beings, we ought to be vulnerable. We shouldn’t try to say that we can be self-sufficient or do everything that’s necessary for a good life on our own, because we need other people.”

Martha Nussbaum
Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger.
Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger.

“With the rise of capitalism, it became more obvious that people pursue individual self-interest. The great nationalist in Italy, Giuseppe Mazzini, a wonderful philosopher, said that we need the nation. We need something that people can lean on, from which they can then reach out to the whole world. The idea of all humanity is too vague. It can’t motivate human aspiration in a reliable way.”

Martha Nussbaum
But the life that no longer trust another human being and no longer forms ties to the political community is not a human life any longer.
But the life that no longer trust another human being and no longer forms ties to the political community is not a human life any longer.

“Life is about more than earning a living, and if you’re not in the habit of thinking about it, you can end up middle-aged or even older and shocked to realize that your life seems empty.”

Martha Nussbaum
Choice matters. You might have the opportunity to eat a nutritious diet, though you might choose to eat a lousy diet. What matters is the opportunity.
Choice matters. You might have the opportunity to eat a nutritious diet, though you might choose to eat a lousy diet. What matters is the opportunity.

5 Inspirational Martha Nussbaum Quotes About Life

I think ageing is challenging, surprising, fun, and full of friendship, so that is the approach I'll take, objecting to the stigmatization of ageing in so many modern societies.
I think ageing is challenging, surprising, fun, and full of friendship, so that is the approach I’ll take, objecting to the stigmatization of ageing in so many modern societies.
Emotions aren't just mindless urges; they contain thoughts about matters of importance.
Emotions aren’t just mindless urges; they contain thoughts about matters of importance.
You can't have a democracy when people don't learn to put themselves in the shoes of another person, who can't think what their policies mean for others.
You can’t have a democracy when people don’t learn to put themselves in the shoes of another person, who can’t think what their policies mean for others.
It's a form of human love to accept our complicated, messy humanity and not run away from it.
It’s a form of human love to accept our complicated, messy humanity and not run away from it.
After all, the nation is not just an entity. It's a story. It's a story of what's salient, what brought us together, what we are willing to live and die for.
After all, the nation is not just an entity. It’s a story. It’s a story of what’s salient, what brought us together, what we are willing to live and die for.

3 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Philosophy

“My high school did not offer courses in philosophy, so the books that initially stimulated philosophical reflection in me were novels by Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.”

Martha Nussbaum
Philosophers should be, as Seneca put it, 'lawyers for humanity'. Make what you think and feel count; the examined life has global dimensions.
Philosophers should be, as Seneca put it, ‘lawyers for humanity’. Make what you think and feel count; the examined life has global dimensions.
The first thing you get from the humanities, when they're well taught, is critical thinking. Philosophy in particular can play that role, not just in universities but in schools as well.
The first thing you get from the humanities, when they’re well taught, is critical thinking. Philosophy in particular can play that role, not just in universities but in schools as well.

3 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Humanities

“The humanities prepare students to be good citizens and help them understand a complicated, interlocking world. The humanities teach us critical thinking, how to analyze arguments, and how to imagine life from the point of view of someone unlike yourself.”

Martha Nussbaum

“Courses in the humanities, in particular, often seem impractical, but they are vital, because they stretch your imagination and challenge your mind to become more responsive, more critical, bigger.”

Martha Nussbaum

“I think we’ve lost the idea that politicians are part of the humanities. And we think of them as part of a natural science tradition, and we don’t expect them to have the contact with literature, with history, with the richness of descriptive language that the humanities have always stood for. And I think that’s a great loss.”

Martha Nussbaum

5 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Imagination

“Disgust relies on moral obtuseness. It is possible to view another human being as a slimy slug or a piece of revolting trash only if one has never made a serious good-faith attempt to see the world through that person’s eyes or to experience that person’s feelings. Disgust imputes to the other a subhuman nature. How, by contrast, do we ever become able to see one another as human? Only through the exercise of imagination.”

Martha Nussbaum
Business leaders love the humanities because they know that to innovate you need more than rote knowledge. You need a trained imagination.
Business leaders love the humanities because they know that to innovate you need more than rote knowledge. You need a trained imagination.
I think the imagination helps us move out of the purely oppositional mentality and see the world in a richer and more variegated way.
I think the imagination helps us move out of the purely oppositional mentality and see the world in a richer and more variegated way.
The imagination is an innate gift, but it needs refinement and cultivation; this is what the humanities provide.
The imagination is an innate gift, but it needs refinement and cultivation; this is what the humanities provide.

“I am a very big fan of the nation, actually. In Cicero’s time, there was this idea that although we were members of the whole world of human beings, we also needed to connect our imaginations to a smaller unit. The smaller unit was something we knew we could live or die for, as Cicero died for the Roman republic.”

Martha Nussbaum

5 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Women

“The great tragedy in the new feminist theory in America is the loss of a sense of public commitment. Hungry women are not fed by this, battered women are not sheltered by it, raped women do not find justice in it, gays and lesbians do not achieve legal protections through it.”

Martha Nussbaum
Every time I undress in the locker room of my gym, I see women bearing the scars of liposuction, tummy tucks, breast implants.
Every time I undress in the locker room of my gym, I see women bearing the scars of liposuction, tummy tucks, breast implants.

“If people think that women only wear the burqa because of coercive pressure, let them create ample opportunities for them, at the same time enforce laws making primary and secondary education compulsory, and then see what women actually do.”

Martha Nussbaum

“Property rights can improve a woman’s ability to stand up to violence in the home. You might think education and employment are important because they give women exit options, but property is as well. Give women equal property rights to inherited land, then they have an asset they can take out of the marriage. This gives husbands strong incentives to not beat them.”

Martha Nussbaum

“I think the obstacle for women is that their lives are intertwined with the lives of men. Change at the very deepest level of one’s daily life and one’s being is required if women are to be really equal.”

Martha Nussbaum

5 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Men

“We have to change men’s expectations, as they grow up, regarding their share of domestic work, of child care, but also of elder care, which is less pleasant and which men don’t want to do.”

Martha Nussbaum
Men in particular think that they have achieved something if they can make a woman mad, particularly if she is calm and intellectual.
Men in particular think that they have achieved something if they can make a woman mad, particularly if she is calm and intellectual.

“Among the good and decent men, some are unprepared for the surprises of life, and their good intentions run aground when confronted with issues like child care.”

Martha Nussbaum

“On the whole, the accommodationist position has been dominant in U.S. law and public culture ─ ever since George Washington wrote a famous letter to the Quakers explaining that he would not require them to serve in the military because the ‘conscientious scruples of all men’ deserve the greatest ‘delicacy and tenderness’.”

Martha Nussbaum

“American men do have genuine reasons for anxiety. The traditional jobs that many men have filled are disappearing, thanks to automation and outsourcing. The jobs that remain require, in most cases, higher education, which is increasingly difficult for non-affluent families to afford.”

Martha Nussbaum

6 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on being Political

“Every single university student should study philosophy. You need to lead the examined life and question your beliefs. If you don’t learn critical thinking, then political debate degenerates into a contest of slogans.”

Martha Nussbaum
Knowledge is not a guarantee of good political behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.
Knowledge is not a guarantee of good political behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.

“I’m very passionate about political issues, but I also think that listening to people who disagree is extremely important, and I try to build that into my teaching, sometimes by co-teaching with rightwing colleagues.”

Martha Nussbaum

“Some emotions are essential to law and to public principles of justice: anger at wrongdoing, fear for our safety, compassion for the pain of others, all these are good reasons to make laws that protect people in their rights.”

Martha Nussbaum

“The U.S. has always understood itself to be united around political principles and not around culture, whereas the nations of Europe have a much more traditional conception of nationhood that is connected to romanticism, which thinks of religion and culture as ingredients of nationhood.”

Martha Nussbaum

“And I sometimes find that members of my family are reading completely different news from what I’m reading, because they’re not reading general interest newspapers at all. They’re getting all their news from certain Internet sites that are rather political.”

Martha Nussbaum

2 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Helplessness

Often, we feel helpless in lots of situations in our lives. The way anger gets a grip on us is it seems to be a way to extricate ourselves from helplessness.
Often, we feel helpless in lots of situations in our lives. The way anger gets a grip on us is it seems to be a way to extricate ourselves from helplessness.
We have fear as soon as we are born, we are born into a state of physical helplessness.
We have fear as soon as we are born, we are born into a state of physical helplessness.

8 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Fear

“When we feel helpless later in life, fear makes us scapegoat others. Instead of fixing the problems, we say, ‘Oh, it’s all their fault – those women or immigrants are infesting our country.’ Rather than useful protest or constructive solutions, we get angry at these handy targets.”

Martha Nussbaum
Fear requires belief that you will be harmed, and it is easily manipulated by rhetoric.
Fear requires belief that you will be harmed, and it is easily manipulated by rhetoric.

“Envy, propelled by fear, can be even more toxic than anger, because it involves the thought that other people enjoy the good things of life which the envier can’t hope to attain through hard work and emulation.”

Martha Nussbaum
When we have emotions of fear and pity toward the hero of a tragedy, we explore aspects of our own vulnerability in a safe and pleasing setting.
When we have emotions of fear and pity toward the hero of a tragedy, we explore aspects of our own vulnerability in a safe and pleasing setting.

“You have to address anger, fear, and then to think about what the alternatives are: hope, faith, a certain kind of brotherly love. And then you have to set yourself to cultivate those.”

Martha Nussbaum
We see unreasoning fear driving a certain amount of public policy, perhaps more in Europe than in the U.S.
We see unreasoning fear driving a certain amount of public policy, perhaps more in Europe than in the U.S.

“Fear and monarchy pair nicely. But democracy means you have to work with people you may not like but you must still believe are your equals. And a fearful people never trust the other side.”

Martha Nussbaum

“Fear is ubiquitous in human life. It starts in infancy with our primal state of helplessness, where we can see what’s going on but we can’t move to get it. As we grow older we become a little more able to get what we want but then we’re going to die so that gives fear another boost.”

Martha Nussbaum

2 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Disgust

“Disgust and shame are inherently hierarchical; they set up ranks and orders of human beings. They are also inherently connected with restrictions on liberty in areas of non-harmful conduct.”

Martha Nussbaum
Disgust is often more deeply buried than envy and anger, but it compounds and intensifies the other negative emotions.
Disgust is often more deeply buried than envy and anger, but it compounds and intensifies the other negative emotions.

3 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Clothing and Fashion

“When I was four I joined a group of girls who were talking about their party dresses. I thought they were imagining, so I imagined a fantastic pink velvet dress with lots of jewels. But they were simply describing what they actually wore, and they had utter contempt for my obvious fiction. After that, I never joined a group again.”

Martha Nussbaum
I love fashion, and I simply enjoy good design in clothes and regard that as one of my hobbies.
I love fashion, and I simply enjoy good design in clothes and regard that as one of my hobbies.

“Clothing that covers the body can be comfortable or uncomfortable, depending on the fabric. In India I typically wear a full salwaar kameez of cotton, because it is superbly comfortable, and full covering keeps dust off one’s limbs and at least diminishes the risk of skin cancer.”

Martha Nussbaum

2 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on Music and Dance

I listen to music. I particularly love Mozart.
I listen to music. I particularly love Mozart.
I'd like to be a student in Rabindranath Tagore's school in Santiniketan in around 1915, dancing in the dance-dramas he wrote.
I’d like to be a student in Rabindranath Tagore’s school in Santiniketan in around 1915, dancing in the dance-dramas he wrote.

3 Martha Nussbaum Quotes on School and Teaching

“As an undergraduate, I studied the Greek and Roman classics, and I went to graduate school in classics intending to work on the presentation of moral issues in various Greek and Roman tragedies.”

Martha Nussbaum
Teaching has always been a very important part of my life. It is one of the ways I contribute to society. It is also a source of energy and insight.
Teaching has always been a very important part of my life. It is one of the ways I contribute to society. It is also a source of energy and insight.

“It’s easy to think that college classes are mainly about preparing you for a job. But remember, this may be the one time in your life when you have a chance to think about the whole of your life, not just your job.”

Martha Nussbaum

18 Martha Nussbaum Quotes to Ponder

“Hilary Putnam died of cancer at the age of 89. Those of us who had the good fortune to know Putnam as mentees, colleagues, and friends remember his life with profound gratitude and love, since Hilary was not only a great philosopher, but also a human being of extraordinary generosity, who really wanted people to be themselves, not his acolytes.”

Martha Nussbaum
Nudity quickly becomes unremarkable when generally practiced.
Nudity quickly becomes unremarkable when generally practiced.
It's always easier for people to face backward than to face forward.
It’s always easier for people to face backward than to face forward.
Martin Luther King and Gandhi were not people who failed in self-respect. They were people of hope and great courage, and their courage was disciplined.
Martin Luther King and Gandhi were not people who failed in self-respect. They were people of hope and great courage, and their courage was disciplined.

“This is true across every single society; we project grossness onto a racial or gender subgroup or caste. A big part of social subordination and discrimination is to ascribe hyper-animality to other groups and use that as an excuse for subordinating them further.”

Martha Nussbaum
In my experience and observation, senior appointments are rarely based entirely on merit.
In my experience and observation, senior appointments are rarely based entirely on merit.

“You have to connect your work to what people are doing. A good way is to construct a bridge between theory and practice – Amartya Sen and I tried this by founding the Human Development and Capabilities Association where practitioners meet theoreticians and their discourse influences practice.”

Martha Nussbaum
TV has a lot of problems, but I think the Internet and social media have a lot more. Under the cover of anonymity people say the most vicious things.
TV has a lot of problems, but I think the Internet and social media have a lot more. Under the cover of anonymity people say the most vicious things.

“If you’ve been betrayed by a spouse or a partner, it’s much easier to focus on causing that person pain than it is to turn forward and actually create a life that’s worthy of you in the future.”

Martha Nussbaum
A person in torment is not going to give you anything.
A person in torment is not going to give you anything.
I am not a pacifist - I think that violence and self-defense are often morally justified.
I am not a pacifist – I think that violence and self-defense are often morally justified.
People - and I think this is particularly true of Americans - don't like to be passive. They like to seize control.
People – and I think this is particularly true of Americans – don’t like to be passive. They like to seize control.

“I don’t want to talk about the regulation of financial markets because that is not my sphere of expertise. It’s a very complicated topic, and if I have written a number of books they are always on topics that I think I know something about.”

Martha Nussbaum
What all emotions have in common, and what distinguishes them from bodily appetites, is a focus on an object and a view of that object as salient for one's life.
What all emotions have in common, and what distinguishes them from bodily appetites, is a focus on an object and a view of that object as salient for one’s life.
I think a lot of people get hope through civic organizations and through their churches.
I think a lot of people get hope through civic organizations and through their churches.
I am very impatient.
I am very impatient.
I don't waste time despising people.
I don’t waste time despising people.
It's always been intriguing to me, the loveability of mortality.
It’s always been intriguing to me, the loveability of mortality.

(MUST READ) Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice

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