A philosopher and a lawyer-economist examine the challenges of the last third of life. They write about friendship, sex, retirement communities, inheritance, poverty, and the depiction of aging women in films. These essays, or conversations, will help readers of all ages think about how to age well, or at least thoughtfully, and how to interact with older family members and friends.
We all age differently, but we can learn from shared experiences and insights. The conversations, or paired essays, in Aging Thoughtfully combine a philosopher's approach with a lawyer-economist's.Here are ideas about when to retire, how to refashion social security to help the elderly poor, how to learn from King Lear - who did not retire successfully - and whether to enjoy or criticise anti-ageing cosmetic procedures. Some of the concerns are practical: philanthropic decisions, relations with one's children and grandchildren, the purchase of annuities, and how to provide for care in old age. Other topics are cultural, ranging from the treatment of ageing women in a Strauss opera and various popular films, to a consideration of Donald Trump's (and other men's) marriages to much younger women. These engaging, thoughtful, and often humorous exchanges show how stimulating discussions about our inevitable ageing can be, and offer valuable insight into how we all might age more thoughtfully, and with zest and friendship.
Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Love's Knowledge, Sex and Social Justice, Animal Rights (edited with Cass Sunstein), From Disgust to Humanity, and Philosophical Interventions, among many.
Saul Levmore is Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School. He is the co-author of American Guy: Masculinity in American Law and Literature.
Chapter 1. Learning from King Lear: What can we learn about aging from Shakespeare's Lear?
Chapter 2. Must We Retire?: Is mandatory retirement a good idea? Chapter 3. Aging with Friends: How are friendships different as we age?
Chapter 4. Aging Bodies: Are cosmetic surgeries good or bad? Chapter 5. Looking Back: What is gained from regret, or from living in the moment? Chapter 6. Romance and Sex beyond Middle-Age: Does age matter? Chapter 7. Inequality and an Aging Population: To what are the elderly entitled? Chapter 8. Giving it Away: How should we part with wealth and time?
"Nussbaum and Levmore have written a sweet book on 'humanomics,' deploying economics, law, philosophy, and literature, to craft a multidisciplinary guide to aging. They show that the stories imagined for our lives and our societies give us purchase in a way that science or history cannot quite. Wise in age themselves, Nussbaum and Levmore know full well that tips handed over on a plate like canapes cannot be the point. Old and young need this book." -Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics and of History Emerita, University of Illinois Chicago "Aging Thoughtfully advances that goal, portraying the aging process as both universal and utterly idiosyncratic, and urging us to learn from each other and our shared history."--Los Angeles Review of Books "Not just good but very good... Nussbaum and Levmore are as interested in asking the right questions as they are with notching the right answers."--Dwight Garner, New York Times "These paired essays really are a conversation - thoughtful, penetrating, and hopeful - between Nussbaum (one of our wisest, smartest writers) and economist and lawyer Levmore."--Philadelphia Inquirer "Nussbaum and Levmore provide important points for combating ageism while honoring the many changes that accompany aging. Aging Thoughtfully promises to provoke thoughtful discussion, especially among those at the cusp of older adulthood."--Christian Century
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