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  • Published: 24 September 2009
  • ISBN: 9781846142802
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Justice

What's The Right Thing To Do?




Michael Sandel, Reith lecturer in 2009, takes readers on an exhilarating journey to discover the meaning of justice

Is killing sometimes morally required? Is the free market fair? It is sometimes wrong to tell the truth? What is justice, and what does it mean?

These and other questions are at the heart of Michael Sandel's Justice. Considering the role of justice in our society and our lives, he reveals how an understanding of philosophy can help to make sense of politics, religion, morality - and our own convictions. Breaking down hotly contested issues, from abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, to patriotism, dissent and affirmative action, Sandel shows how the biggest questions in our civiv life can be broken down and illuminated through reasoned debate. Justice promises to take readers - of all ages and political persuasions - on an exhilarating journey to confront controversies in a fresh and enlightening way.

  • Published: 24 September 2009
  • ISBN: 9781846142802
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Michael J. Sandel

Michael Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at the University of Harvard. Sandel's legendary 'Justice' course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard with up to a thousand students enrolling every year.  In 2011, BBC4 will air a season on Justice, featuring eight of Sandel's Harvard lectures and his new documentary film, 'Justice: A Citizen's Guide to the 21st Century.' Michael Sandel has lectured widely in Europe, China, Japan, India, Australia and North America. He has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne, Paris, and delivered the Tanner Lectures at Oxford. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Sandel is the author of many books and has previously written for the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic and the New York Times. In 2009, he delivered the Reith Lectures for the BBC.

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Praise for Justice

One of the world's most interesting political philosophers

Guardian

Justice is a lucid and compelling analysis of our current moral dilemmas, which argues for a new commitment to citizenship and the common good

Shirley Williams

In the beautifully concise explanations of American philosopher Michael Sandel, I see great insight into our current predicaments. If any political reckoning is on its way . . . then perhaps it might come from the philosophy department of Harvard

Madeleine Bunting

Michael Sandel, perhaps the most prominent college professor in America,...practices the best kind of academic populism, managing to simplify John Stuart Mill and John Rawls without being simplistic. But Sandel is best at what he calls bringing 'moral clarity to the alternatives we confront as democratic citizens'.... He ends up clarifying a basic political divide - not between left and right, but between those who recognize nothing greater than individual rights and choices, and those who affirm a 'politics of the common good,' rooted in moral beliefs that can't be ignored

Michael Gerson, Washington Post

Michael Sandel transforms moral philosophy by putting it at the heart of civic debate....Sandel's insistence on the inescapably ethical character of political debate is enormously refreshing

Edward Skidelsky, New Statesman

A spellbinding philosopher.... For Michael Sandel, justice is not a spectator sport.... He is calling for nothing less than a reinvigoration of citizenship

Samuel Moyn, The Nation

An ambitious and an appealing idea. Intriguingly, I find myself persuaded that it might well be worth a try

Lisa Jardine, The Times

More than exhilarating; exciting in its ability to persuade this student/reader, time and again, that the principle now being invoked-on this page, in this chapter-is the one to deliver the sufficiently inclusive guide to the making of a decent life

Vivien Gornick, Boston Review

Sandel explains theories of justice...with clarity and immediacy; the ideas of Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Robert Nozick and John Rawls have rarely, if ever, been set out as accessibly... In terms we can all understand, Justice confronts us with the concepts that lurk, so often unacknowledged, beneath our conflicts

Jonathan Rauch, New York Times

This book is absolutely indispensable for anyone who wants to be a good citizen. It shows how to balance competing values, a talent our nation desperately needs nowadays

Walter Isaacson, author of 'Benjamin Franklin: An American Life'

Sandel dazzles in this sweeping survey of hot topics.... Erudite, conversational and deeply humane, this is truly transformative reading

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Hard cases may make bad laws, but in Michael Sandel's hands they produce some cool philosophy.... Justice is a timely plea for us to desist from political bickering and see if we can have a sensible discussion about what sort of society we really want to live in

Jonathan Ree, The Observer

A road map for negotiating modern moral dilemmas... For those seeking a short course through moral philosophy from a witty writer, fast on his feet, and nimble with his pen, this thin volume is difficult to beat

Kevin J. Hamilton, Seattle Times

There have been various attempts over the decades to bury moral philosophy -- to dismiss convictions about right and wrong as cultural prejudices, or secretions of the brain, or matters so personal they shouldn't even affect our private lives. But moral questions always return, as puzzles and as tragedies. Would we push a hefty man onto a railroad track to save the lives of five others? Should Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, in June of 2005, have executed a group of Afghan goatherds who, having stumbled on his position, might inform the enemy about his unit? (Luttrell let them go, the Taliban attacked, and three of his comrades died.) These examples and others -- price-gouging after Hurricane Katrina, affirmative action, gay marriage -- are all grist for the teaching of Michael Sandel, perhaps the most prominent college professor in America. His popular class at Harvard -- Moral Reasoning 22: Justice -- attracts about a sixth of all undergraduates. For those lacking $49,000 a year in tuition and board, he has written Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? which has been further translated into a PBS series and a Web site, JusticeHarvard.org

Michael Gerson, Wall Street Journal

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