- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised edition (April 2, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195074858
- ISBN-13: 978-0195074857
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Love's Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature Revised Edition
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"An engaging and satisfying study of literature's intrinsic relationship to philosophy, and of philosophy in its relationship to the rich web of human love and choice....It is a book textured with so many lives and stories that it cannot fail to inspire lively debate on the role of novelist as philosopher and on the centrality of love to wisdom."--Christianity & Literature
"The best modern discussion of the ways in which what we call philosophy and what we call literature interrelate....Anyone who wants to think about how literature and philosophy can serve each other should not just read this book but study it and return to its complex arguments again and again." --Wayne Booth, Philosophy and Literature
"I did not want Love's Knowledge to stop, and I find myself trusting its progress as much as that of any work of moral thinking of recent times."--Arion
"One of the most original books published [in 1991], a hugely stimulating read, which returns us with thoughts refreshed to some of our best-loved authors and brings philosophy back to earth in the process."--The Observer
"With this volume Martha Nussbaum gives new meaning to the word `interdisciplinary': No mere dabbling in closely aligned fields, the essays presented here are based on her considerable knowledge and understanding of classics, philosophy, and comparative literature....Her assertions are balanced, insightful, and infused with subtle humor."--The Bloomsbury Review
From the Back Cover
This volume collects my published papers on the relationship between literature and philosophy, especially moral philosophy.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Moral philosophy has flourished in recent years, and Nussbaum has been one of its most vivid practitioners. Ways of thinking and writing that developed in the analytic tradition are appropriate to some inquiries, such as epistemology and philosophy of science, but they cannot accomplish what is necessary for moral philosophy.
Most Ancient Wisdom:
The oldest work of social moral Philosophy known to us is the "Instruction of Ptah-Hotep," which apparently goes back to 2880 BC, 2300 years before Confucius, Socrates and Buddha. Ptah-Hotep, Governor of Memphis, instructs his son, and successor: "Be not proud because thou art learned; but discourse with the ignorant as with the sage. For no limit could be set to skill, neither is there any craftsman that possesseth full advantages. ...Overstep not the truth, neither repeat that which any man, be he prince or peasant, saith in opening the heart; it is abhorrent to the soul..." (cited in J. H. Breasted: The Dawn of Conscience)
Poverty of a moral philosophy:
Nussbaum conceives moral philosophy neither as the formulation and systematization of rules; nor as the identification of "virtues" constitutive of a good character. Like several other philosophers, she argues that the attentive reading of literary works, specifically novels, is an indispensable aid for moral reflection. Martha Nussbaum's lack of a discernible interest in religion has not hindered the Divinity School, University of Chicago from assigning her a course in Theological Ethics. For her, novels provide rich emotions and meticulous situations relative to the real complexities of experience. By contrast, the examples created by philosophers are thin and lack support. Nussbaum's emphasis has typically been on the poverty of a moral philosophy that fails to use the great resources provided by literature. She argues, there are some aspects of knowledge that are revealed to us only when we experience some emotions, especially love. We may love people because of what we know about them, but we come to know them more fully because we love them. Alan Jacobs thinks Nussbaum finds most compelling accounts of the richness of our emotional lives portrayed in great novels. Novels are particularly rich in their explorations of these issues, though such understanding need not be gained only from novels.
"Nussbaum's project orbits elliptically around two points: the defense of reflection on the literary particular against Kantians, utilitarians, Platonists, analytic philosophers, and any other one-sided champions of the general and universal; and actual commentaries on scenes from novels she loves and finds particularly significant. ... Yet the measure of this book's power is that it stimulates us to raise serious questions like these, not as rhetorical, but as genuinely inviting Nussbaum's response."
D. Marshall, U. of Illinois, Chicago