"Not for Profit: Why Democracy needs the Humanities"

Stanford UniversityWhat is education for democracy? We urgently need to reflect about this, since radical changes in education are occurring without much public deliberation. Narrowly focusing on national economic gain, nations, and their systems of education, are needlessly discarding skills associated with the humanities and the arts, that are             needed to keep democracies alive: the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as a "citizen of the world"; and the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicament of another person.

We’re in the middle of a crisis…that has been going largely unnoticed–a worldwide crisis in education,” said philosopher Martha Nussbaum to a near-capacity audience at Cubberley Auditorium. “There are radical changes in what democratic societies teach young people, and these changes have not been well thought through.”

“If this trend continues, we will be producing generations of narrow technically-trained workers rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticize tradition and authority and understand the significance of another person’s suffering and achievements,” Nussbaum added.
Excerpt from the February 2, 2012 talk.