Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, with appointments in the Philosophy Department, the Law School, and the Divinity School. Her most recent book is Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. (January 2001)

Disabled Lives: Who Cares?

Sesha, daughter of the philosopher Eva Kittay and her husband Jeffrey, is a young woman in her early thirties. Attractive and affectionate, she loves music and pretty clothes, and responds with joy to the affection and admiration of others. Sesha sways to music and hugs her parents. But she will …

Feminists and Philosophy

—And mustn’t there be a type of woman that loves philosophy,[^1] and another type that hates it? —Yes, both of these. Plato, Republic 456A We’ll encounter opposition, won’t we, if we give women the same education that we give to men, Socrates says to Glaucon. For then we’d have …

Justice For Women!

As Bangladesh was struggling to recover from the disastrous famine of 1974, Saleha Begum’s husband fell ill, and they were forced to sell their land.[^1] Like most women in rural Bangladesh, Saleha had never been trained to work outside her home. Although she raised her children almost single-handedly and did …

Recoiling from Reason

In the second book of the Politics, Aristotle asks whether it is a good thing to encourage changes in society. Should people be offered rewards for inventing some change in the traditional laws? No, he writes, because this would lead to instability and unnecessary tampering with what is working well.

Undemocratic Vistas

Asked whether women as well as men should study philosophy, the distinguished Roman Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus, teacher of Epictetus, replied as follows: Women have received from the god the same rational faculty as men, the faculty that we use in communicating with one another and in reasoning about each …

Sex in the Head

Roger Scruton is a Wagnerian romantic and a Thatcherite conservative; a tentative, questioning philosopher who is enamored of dogmatic political conclusions; a subtle writer on cultural diversity who is also drawn to making sweeping biological claims about human nature. These are some of the contradictions that inhabit his uneven, exasperating, …

Women’s Lot

Three Spartan women were being sold as slaves. Their captors asked them what they had learned to do. The first replied, “How to manage a household well.” The second said, “How to be loyal.” The third said, “How to be free.”[^1] This ancient story, retold by Plutarch (in which Sparta …