- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (August 17, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374532508
- ISBN-13: 978-0374532505
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (473 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Sandel, a Harvard law professor, effortlessly integrates common concerns of individuals with topics as varied as abortion, affirmative action, and family loyalties within the modern theories and perspectives on freedom. He reviews philosophical thought from the ancient to more modern political philosophers, including Immanuel Kant and John Rawls. Sandel critiques three ways of thinking about justice: a utilitarian perspective that seeks the greatest happiness for the greatest number; the connection of justice to freedom with contrast between what he calls the laissez-faire camp that tends to be market libertarians and the fairness camp with an egalitarian slant that acknowledges the need for market regulation; and justice tied to virtue and pursuit of the good life. Although the last is generally associated with the cultural and political Right, he exposes connections across political lines. Sandel reveals how perspectives on justice are connected to a deeper and reasoned analysis, a moral engagement in politics, and a counterintuitive conclusion in modern politics. Whether or not readers agree with Sandel’s conclusions, they will appreciate the encouragement to self-examination on the most mundane topics. --Vernon Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book makes you think. If you have trouble with the front section focus on the examples , the dilemmas posed, and especially the concepts in the last few chapters. But if you can, try and stay with the author throughout his thought process.
However, the most beautiful thing about the book for me was the self-reflection it promoted in me as I tried to engage the questions as rigorously as I could. Doing that, in the first instance, is the Right Thing to Do, I think.
Ultimately he expresses an enthusiasm for Bobby Kennedy which I do not share, but the book and lectures are thought provoking and force on to clear one's own mind
My only slight criticism is his brief 'promo' for Pres. Obama. It just didn't seem necessary to 'discussion' and introduced a partisan tinge. I was also disappointed in Sandel's seeming unwillingness to "imagine there's no religion." Some examples of philosophical questions have been revealed by asking the 'thinker' to strip away his/her personal identity - no color, gender, ethnic heritage, etc. This would give the 'thinker' a new base-line to imagine how majority/minority ideas would look. It's a very effective exercise, essentially forcing one to not know who you are before political decisions are made. You cannot know if you are a member of the majority or a minority member. Yikes! My complaint is that I view "religion" as one of the identifiers, as strong an influence as ethnicity, color, etc. Sandel asks that the 'thinker' not take a totally secular point of view, and then writes many sentences that include, "moral and religious" and says they should not be separated. As an atheist, I consider "religion" a fairy tale. At the same time I can acknowledge that the Bible has a 'philosophy' written by people. Religion is dogma. Maybe it's just a 'word' thing, but I don't want to include "religion" -- Catholic, Protestant, the fundamentalist Christians, Hindus, Muslims, etal, in my deliberations over human rights, responsibilities, and "Justice."
(p.s., Seems perhaps my criticism wasn't so "slight" after all. I still recommend this book highly, however.)