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Justice: A Reader 1st Edition

27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195335125
ISBN-10: 0195335120
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Editorial Reviews


"Michael Sandel is one of the most popular and influential college professors in America. For more than twenty years, hundreds of students at a time have packed into a Harvard University lecture hall to hear his discourses on justice; and hundreds have streamed out feeling a surprisingly personal connection with their gifted teacher. This book reveals Sandel's secret recipe for enthralling students with timeless questions of law, justice, and morality in a decidedly contemporary context."--Anita L. Allen, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

"This thoughtful, stimulating, and convenient collection brings a range of classic moral and political philosophers--from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill--to bear on a range of contemporary controversies about justice. It invites readers to discover how their views on contemporary questions might be clarified, deepened and challenged by an encounter with enduring debates in moral and political philosophy."--Russell Muirhead, Associate Professor of Democracy and Politics, Dartmouth College

"This outstanding collection successfully blends historical and contemporary thought, on issues of theoretical and practical importance, to illuminate the main problems of justice. It is accessible to undergraduates in philosophy, with breadth and depth enough to engage the experienced philosophical reader hoping to rethink some central debates."--Michele Moody-Adams, Director and Professor of Ethics and Public Life, Cornell University

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. He is the author of numerous books, including Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Democracy's Discontent, Public Philosophy and most recently, The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195335120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195335125
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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. In 2007, Harvard made Sandel's course available to alumni around the world through webstreaming and podcasting. Over 5,000 participants signed up, and Harvard Clubs from Mexico to Australia organized local discussion groups in connection with the course. In May 2007, Sandel delivered a series of lectures at major universities in China and he has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne, Paris. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. Sandel is the author of many books and has previously written for the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic and the New York Times. He was the 2009 BBC Reith Lecturer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Afia TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Michael Sandel is a political philosopher, Harvard professor and perhaps National Treasure. His concern is achieving a just society and introducing notions about virtue and moral reflection into political debates. His philosophy lectures merited a 12-part TV series on PBS, but something quite serious seems to be in the works.

Forget about the tedium of philosophy classes - memorizing arguments of great philosophers and reproducing them in exams. This is different. If Sandel continues to gain access to the country through the national media, he might do for us what Socrates did for the ancient Greeks. He might succeed in making moral reflection a public endeavor, not a solitary activity. To him, a philosopher can be an interlocutor for the people. He and his students (disciples?) might shame our politicians into doing the right thing more often.

Justice, read by the author, starts out in a friendly manner with its first case being the price gouging for necessities in the aftermath of Hurricane Charlie. At the time, newspapers were filled with editorials on how price gouging is not wrong since there's no "just price" and supply and demand should be allowed free reign. Yet buyers in emergencies are under duress and thus not truly free. That's why we feel a sense of outrage. We learn that we share principles tracing back to famous dead philosophers.

By the middle of this audiobook, Sandel cuts close to the bone and you can see now why politicians would like to confine him to the lecture hall. He shows us that justice is inescapably judgmental and that today's political arguments are about anything but virtue. He wants philosophy to be used on economics, not just on matters of abortion and gay marriage. Sandel demonstrates that the growing inequality in the U.S.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Eric S. Giroux on July 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This collection gathers together a wide array of classic writings on the topic of justice -- justice as fairness (Rawls), justice as a framework for the protection of rights (Locke, Rawls, Mill), justice from a teleological perspective (Aristotle), justice as the grounding for a conception of categorical morality (Kant), and justice as a defense to the results of the market system (Nozick). This is an indispensible set of readings for anyone grappling with the foundational questions of how we should live as individuals, nations, and a species.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Morgan Scott Phenix on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Sandel's book is a solid rendering of the on-line PBS course. A superb alternate experience is the audio-book, which captures the warmth and humor and interactive intelligence of Professor Sandel's class. On-line college instructors could gain much from watching the series, imagining the potential for video portrayals in addition to the usual textual discourse seen in on-line instruction. Likewise, listening to the exchanges between professor and student in the audio-book format provides an excellent introduction to Sandel's dialogic style. Top quality, truly worthwhile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Kong on August 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for Prof. Michael Sandel's online Justice course. This book includes all the materials required to complete the online course and some more. It is 412 pages long with 14 chapters. Chapter 1. Introduction: Doing the Right Thing (The Queen v. Dudley and Stephen); Chapter 2. Utilitarianism (Principles of Moral and Legislation by Jeremy Bentham, and Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill); Chapter 3. Libertarianism (Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman, Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick, and The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich A. Hayek); Chapter 4. Locke: Property Rights (Second Treatise of Government by John Locke); Chapter 5. Markets and Morals: Surrogate Motherhood, Military Service (Tragic Choices by Guido Calabresi and Philip Bobbit, Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson, All Go Down Together by James Thaub, In the Matter of Baby M, Is Women's Labor a Commodity? by Elizabeth S. Anderson); Chapter 6. Kant: Freedom as Autonomy (Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and On the Supposed Right to Lie by Immanuel Kant); Chapter 7. Rawls: Justice as Fairness (A Theory of Justice by John Rawls); Chapter 8. Distributive Justice: Equality, Entitlement, and Merit (A Theory of Justice by John Rawls and Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick); Chapter 9. Affirmative Action: Reverse Discrimination? (Racial Discrimination or Righting Wrongs? by Richard Bernstein, Hopwood v. State of Texas, Grutter v. Bollinger, Bakke's Case: Are Quotas Unfair? by Ronald Dworkins, Double Reverse Discrimination by Jefferson Morley, and Proxy Wars: Liberals Denounce Racial Profiling Conservatives Denounce Affirmative Action. What's the Difference? by Michael Brus); Chapter 10. Aristotle: Justice and Virtue (The Politics and Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle); Chapter 11.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Clarke on November 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent discussion of the effort to come up with societal ethics. Good to read a chapter, and then go to Sandel's Harvard website and watch a corresponding lecture video. It's good, too, because Sandel takes the reader through all the consequences of a given way of approaching ethics (for instance, a lot of people think Libertarianism is good because they imagine that it gives them more personal freedom, but Sandel points out just how selfish freedom without responsibility turns out to be.
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Justice: A Reader
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