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Martha C. Nussbaum


President Angel, I have the honor of presenting Dr. Martha Nussbaum, author, teacher, moral philosopher, and the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Law School and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Nussbaum, you have written and spoken extensively on facets of the human condition through a variety of prisms — wrestling with the place of emotions in political life, the nuances of feminist philosophy, the nature of human vulnerability, and the importance of liberal education in human thought and discourse.

You are renowned for your work in the philosophies of ancient Greece and Rome, and the ways in which the classical resonates with the contemporary. Your recent book, The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at our Political Crisis, examines the sources of anxiety suffusing our modern society and offers correctives — one of which involves amplifying our relationship with the arts as a tool to build empathy. As you told TIME magazine, “We need to understand one another and we need to be able to look one another in the eye with a mobile imagination and with love. If we don’t have that, we can’t move forward at all.”

Dr. Nussbaum, your peers have taken note of your prolific and respected body of work, last year awarding you the 1-million-dollar Berggruen Prize, given annually to a thinker whose ideas “have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world.” Your work, the prize announcement said, “shows how philosophy, far from being merely an armchair discipline, offers a greater understanding of who we are, our place in the world, and a way to live a well-lived life.”

Mr. President, on behalf of the trustees, faculty, students, and staff of Clark University, I request that the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, be conferred on Dr. Martha Nussbaum.