Nussbaum and Levmore on Aging

My review is here.


s. wallerstein said...


I really liked Simone de Beauvoir's book on Ageing (I'm now 71, almost 72) and what Simone de Beauvoir said there rang very true for me and interpreted my own experience of getting old.

In general, if I had to vote for one of them as being a 1st class thinker, I'd vote for Simone de Beauvoir over Martha Nussbaum. In fact, coincidentally, I went to the annual used book fair here and ended up buying Simone de Beauvoir's novel, the Mandarins. So you can see that I'm a biased long-time Simone de Beauvoir fan.

Jean Kazez said...

I bought Beauvoir's book about old age but didn't get too far with it. It's dauntingly thick. Any suggestions about what part I should read? I've always meant to read The Mandarins too....

s. wallerstein said...

I don't have the book, so I don't remember exactly, but there is one or more long chapter on the anthropological evidence about ageing which probably is dated. Still, I found them fascinating as I did the chapter or chapters about ageing in Western history. In general, as I recall, the old are not treated well in traditional Western or non-Western societies, unless they are wealthy and powerful (and generally male). It's frightening, but there are some where the old are just left alone to die. The book is not at all difficult reading (no existential jargon about "for itself" or "in itself") and it's easy to skim if you run into chapters that are overly long.

I feel a lot less healthy and vigorous than I did 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, and well, as for being admired, the time is long gone when every time I bought something the women shop attendants smiled at or flirted with me.

By the way, another group, besides airplane pilots, who retire fairly early are surgeons. I went to a back surgeon the other day for my sciatica and I liked him so much that I decided that I'd have surgery (which I've been putting off) with him, only to find that he no longer does surgery, although he refers patients to other surgeons and works together with them. I then talked to a friend who said that his partner's cousin, also a surgeon, is going to retire from surgery (he still will see patients),
and he is "only" 62.