By Martha C. Nussbaum and Saul Levmore – Oxford University Press, 2017
Imagine you’re eavesdropping on a man and a woman who are discussing the good, bad, ugly, and hopeful facets of growing older. Both are University of Chicago Law School professors. Levmore, age 64, is a pragmatic lawyer-economist and Nussbaum, 70, is a philosopher. This provocative book offers their often-opposing dialogues on later-life issues, including sex appeal, altruism, grown children, and discrimination. Compulsory retirement? Discriminatory! says Nussbaum emphatically. No more so than assigning an age at which one can vote or drive, suggests Levmore. While Levmore ponders on the older man taking a younger wife to feel relevant, Nussbaum believes that an older woman rejects the younger man for making her appear older by contrast. And so on.
The collegial back-and-forth is enlightening, and you will likely find yourself agreeing one minute and disagreeing the next. While they may be far apart at times philosophically, the authors share a belief that we can’t sweep issues under the rug if we want to live confidently as we age. These eight essays represent keen observations of this stage of life, influenced by thought leaders of our time.