UCL Institute for Human Rights


Why Love Matters for Justice: Workshop on Martha Nussbaum's 'Political Emotions'

31 May 2014, 10:00 am–4:00 pm

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UCL Institute of Human Rights


Bentham House

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Martha Nussbaum has for many years been at the forefront in exploring the nature of the emotions, their place in a flourishing human life, and their practical significance for politics and law. In her book, Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice (Harvard University Press, 2013), she turns her attention to the emotional roots of a liberal political order.

The workshop began with a brief description by Professor Nussbaum of the aims of Political Emotions and was followed by four half-hour presentations on some of the book's key themes - the place of emotions within political liberalism, the nature and political significance of compassion and of its enemies, such as disgust, fear, envy and shame, and the fostering of a morally justifiable patriotism.


  • Introduction and Overview – Martha Nussbaum and John Tasioulas
  • Session 1: Emotions in Political Liberalism – John Tasioulas
  • Session 2: Compassion – Amia Srinivasan
  • Session 3: Enemies of Compassion – George Letsas
  • Session 4: Patriotism – Sarah Fine

Martha Nussbaum

About Martha Nussbaum

Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the Law School and Philosophy Department. She is an Associate in the Classics Department, the Divinity School, and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program.

Martha Nussbaum received her BA from NYU and her MA and PhD from Harvard. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities. From 1986 to 1993, Ms. Nussbaum was a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki, a part of the United Nations University. She has received honorary degrees from over forty colleges and universities in the U. S., Canada, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

View Martha Nussbaum's profile