Martha Nussbaum: Review of Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 978-0-674-72465-6. 457 pp. Hardback. Index. $35 [Book Review]

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):1009-1010 (2014)
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Abstract

After much of the 20th Century, when morals were widely considered little more than mere emotional responses, a range of writers, such as Haidt, Prinz, and Patricia Churchland, have been restoring the emotions’ respectable roles in human cognition and morality. Nussbaum in her Upheavals of Thought showed how important emotions are for human cognitive life, so there is no clear distinction between their “irrationality” and the cerebral cortex’s supposed “rationality.” In Political Emotions, Nussbaum asks readers to look into how pivotally emotions affect political life, especially how we may best gear our emotions for political liberalism. As she convincingly urges, politics depend upon our emotions; we neglect them to our detriment lest demagogues commandeer them. She argues a hazardous case, and by the end anyone who cares about liberal democracy should accede to emotions’ centrality in it.Nussbaum builds her case upon what she deems partially failed models for a civic religion as pro ..

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Lantz Fleming Miller
University of Twente

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