Nussbaum, a philosopher who teaches at the University of Chicago, candidly describes her latest book as a “manifesto, not an empirical study.” She is alarmed by the degree to which the humanities are being pushed aside -- at all levels of schooling and in countries around the world -- in favor of subjects more clearly linked to economic growth. We endorse values like democracy, empathy, tolerance, and free speech, Nussbaum writes, but give little thought to insuring their survival in future generations. By deëmphasizing the liberal arts, we are training students to become “useful profit-makers with obtuse imaginations” and no critical-thinking skills, as opposed to active international citizens. Nussbaum makes a persuasive case that, in the age of No Child Left Behind, “the pedagogy of rote learning rules the roost.”
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