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The Skeptic Book Club meets the second Sunday of each month at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 8029 Kingston Pike, at 4:00 p.m. to discuss a bit of everything from a mostly rational viewpoint. Feel free to join us even if you haven't read the book.

Sunday, March 13th, Florence Wilden will lead the discussion on "Not for Profit: Why Democracy needs the Humanities" by Martha C. Nussbaum.


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Worries about the economy and the need to advance technology are threatening liberal arts education in the U.S. to the ultimate detriment of our democracy, laments philosopher Nussbaum. She explores the long history of emphasis on humanities in education in the U.S., exploring the influences of Horace Mann, Bronson Alcott, John Dewey, and others, including India’s Rabindranath Tagore. She devotes a separate chapter to Socrates and his teachings that have figured prominently in developing a sense of citizenship in democracy; the connectedness of individuals; and the importance of the ability to question, analyze, and argue points of view. Nussbaum offers examples and case studies from the U.S. and India of the shift from the “human-development paradigm” to the “growth-oriented paradigm” and what nations are at risk of losing. She analyzes the role of the arts and humanities in developing language skills and encouraging curiosity about other cultures and sympathy for other individuals. This is a passionate call to action at a time when the nation is becoming more culturally diverse and universities are cutting back on humanities programs. --Vanessa Bush


Posted by schadwick
Mar. 11, 2011