cover image Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

. Princeton Univ., 22.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-691-14064-3

A spirited if unremarkable defense of the value of a liberal arts education and of the humanities in general against the encroachment of economic growth–oriented paradigms on global learning practices. Distinguished philosopher Nussbaum (Hiding from Humanity) argues that education for profit has displaced education for citizenship, and with the sidelining of the humanities, critical thinking, empathy, and the understanding of injustice are neglected. Moving deftly between analysis and polemic, the author draws on education practices in India, experimental psychology, the works of such liberal education proponents as Dewey and Tagore to emphasize the importance of critical pedagogy for the development of individual responsibility, innovation, and self-examination. However, while Nussbaum admirably defends liberal humanitarian education, little in the book is new, and she is only moderately successful in pinpointing precisely how educational practices might be reformed or, more importantly, how decision makers might be convinced of the necessity of such reformation. Nonetheless, in advocating educational curriculums that recognize the worth of personal development and creative thought, this slim book is itself a small but decisive step in the effort to broaden and enrich current pedagogical practices. (June)