A renowned Harvard professor's brilliant, sweeping, inspiring account of the role of justice in our society--and of the moral dilemmas we face as citizens
What are our obligations to others as people in a free society? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Is killing sometimes morally required? Is it possible, or desirable, to legislate morality? Do individual rights and the common good conflict?
Michael J. Sandel's "Justice" course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these con?icts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.
Harvard government professor Sandel (Public Philosophy) dazzles in this sweeping survey of hot topics the recent government bailouts, the draft, surrogate pregnancies, same-sex marriage, immigration reform and reparations for slavery that situates various sides in the debates in the context of timeless philosophical questions and movements. Sandel takes utilitarianism, Kant's categorical imperative and Rawls's theory of justice out of the classroom, dusts them off and reveals how crucial these theories have been in the construction of Western societies and how they inform almost every issue at the center of our modern-day polis. The content is dense but elegantly presented, and Sandel has a rare gift for making complex issues comprehensible, even entertaining (see his sections entitled "Shakespeare versus the Simpsons and "What Ethics Can Learn from Jack Benny and Miss Manners"), without compromising their gravity. With exegeses of Winnie the Pooh, transcripts of Bill Clinton's impeachment hearing and the works of almost every major political philosopher, Sandel reveals how even our most knee-jerk responses bespeak our personal conceptions of the rights and obligations of the individual and society at large. Erudite, conversational and deeply humane, this is truly transformative reading.
Well done Mr Sandel!
I know understand why Mr Sandel commands the most sough after class at Harvard University. He directly challenges and confronts the hard questions with great intellectual insight.
The first half is good
But in just about every chapter the second half of the chapter is the first half in different words.
Great start, loses steam
I've enjoyed watching Mr Sandel's Harvard lectures on iUniversity. This book attempts to sum up his Harvard justice course. The first half of the book is very engaging and the language is very intriguing and conducive to self analysis. The second part though is slow and dry and was difficult to finish. I'm still glad I read it though. Good read with a lot of thought provoking questions justice and great anecdotes in the first part