Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

by Michael J. Sandel

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Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
DiniOv More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book, and very well written, easy to understand and really does pull the reader in and holds their attention (it did for me). My favorite part about the book are the arguments he gave to different issues, he really does challenge your way of thinking. If you agreed about a certain issue in one way he has a nag of presenting a different way which can be very opposite to your way of thinking, but still is very valid, which forces you to rethink the issue and your own way of understanding it and ultimately your opinion. Loved it and would totally recommend it to others.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
"The way things are does not determine the way they ought to be." So writes Harvard government and political philosophy professor Michael J. Sandel in this all-encompassing tour through the social, economic and political issues that preoccupy modern society. Seeking to define justice in a just society, Sandel forays into affirmative action, paid militaries, infant surrogacy, free markets and even cannibalism. His reviews of classical and modern philosophies, rightly intended to guide the reader through his exposition, slow down what is otherwise an informative, illuminating and entertaining book. Sandel argues for a "politics of moral engagement" that brings all citizens together in a quest for a just society. getAbstract highly recommends this book to free marketers, libertarians, utilitarians and people of all philosophical and political stripes.
Dorothy Denson More than 1 year ago
Although i did not purchase it on the nook, it was still a very eye opening read. Very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking, excellent read....a book worth recommending!
bezoar44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well-written and super-accessible, this book offers a thoughtful survey of major theories of justice. It's apparently a companion to a 12-episode public television series that is also viewable on the author's website. Sandel groups major theories into three families: utilitarianism ('greatest good for the greatest number'); freedom (Kant's categorical imperative and Rawls' egalitarian starting point); and virtue (Aristotle, but also recent communitarians, of which Sandel appears to be one). If you haven't read much political philosophy, this is a great place to start. If you have, but can't recall the details, this is a great refresher. The last one and a half chapters move beyond the survey to argue, from a virtue perspective, that liberals should welcome moral (philosophical but also religious) arguments into the public sphere - that taking such arguments seriously will help reinvigorate American democracy. While I thought the book was excellent, it did leave me wanting more, in at least three areas. First, Sandel gives utilitarianism short shrift, noting that most of us do not in fact think that the 'greatest good' can justify oppression of whole classes of people, or violation of core rights, so it isn't a satisfactory explanation of what we mean by 'justice'. That's right as far as it goes, but surely a utilitarian could build a theory, influenced by pragmatism, that takes account of human cognitive limits and adds a large dose of humility, and trust in balances of power. That might yield a utilitarian theory of justice that looks quite different from, and more attractive than, Sandel's straw man. Second, the book simply doesn't discuss theological theories of justice. That's problematic, given Sandel's argument that liberals should welcome values-based arguments back into debates about justice. If you buy Sandel's claim, it's still unclear how faith-based philosophy is supposed to engage in debate with secular philosophy (or philosophies grounded in other faiths)-- where are the points of common ground, and how are they supposed to handle the occasional chasms between their worldviews?Finally, the book is essentially American, tracing approaches from European roots to 20th century American political philosophers (across the political spectrum). But, major political philosophers are also at work in other nations, and it would be nice to have some sense of how their theories compare with the Americans'. For example, Jurgen Habermas' theory of political discourse, which I understand only in the crudest outline, would seem to have strong implications for thinking about justice; but Sandel doesn't mention it at all. Of course an author has to draw the line somewhere, but a book that places American political philosophy in a global context would be a helpful complement to this one.
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent interesting essential book. Get a Harvard education for the cost of a book - Michael Sandel is a harvard professor and essentially boils down his first year course on ethics and justice into a short, easily read (okay, except for the bit on Kant, that got a bit dense!) book. Thought provoking and enjoyable and you feel smarter afterwards.
Atomicmutant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A brisk overview of political and moral philosophies that really reads well and is consistently engaging. If you know your political philosophers (Mill, Locke, Kant, et al) this may be a bit redundant, but Sandel takes care to recapitulate their arguments with current day contextualization, citing examples from current politics and civil discourse. The use of current examples really brings the arguments to life.I am also grateful to this book for introducing me to the work of John Rawls, who, again, may be familiar if you've read a lot on this topic, but I had only cursory knowledge of his philosophy.In the conclusion, Sandel points the way to a more civil and just form of public discourse, that didn't really have me jumping up yelling "yeah, that'll do it!", but the journey to his conclusion is one worth taking.Great writing, great length (under 300 pages), and a great topic. Highly recommended.
RavRita on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Why do we make the choices that we make? Would we have stopped and been the good samaritan? The writer is very popular and extremely dynamic and that really comes across when you watch his videos. He is a very smart man and although his points eventually come out and you learn something - the first half of the book ...is painful to read. The second half flows a lot better but you may just want to find his videos online and enjoy his thoughts that way.
Bonni208 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sandel takes us through each of the major political perspectives and describes the pros and cons of each. He seems much less interested in changing our minds, but rather to help us explore if we really believe what we think we do... and to help us be more articulate in describing our perspectives. He does give us a glimpse into which of the many political perspectives he thinks is most beneficial in the long-term, but I suspect that individuals with many different views will still find this book a great read.
tongabob on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was painful. It was like taking philosophy 101. It is very superficial. I can not imagine why he wrote it. Nothing of value here.
the.ken.petersen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A bit too much like a school sociology project for my liking. I suppose that one of the most frustrating things about this book is that one wishes to argue some of the conclusions that Mr Sandel draws. Sometimes, the point that one wishes to make is covered, a few pages hence but, often not (although, I freely admit this may have more to do with my perverse logic than Mr Sandel's!) The author does make some good points, and it certainly made me look at some situations in a different light, and anything that has that ability cannot be bad, just a tad frustrating!
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talk.with.mary More than 1 year ago
I wish everyone would read this book. It is written by one of the most popular philosophy professors at Harvard. He uses examples very effectively to make his points. You do not have to be a philosophy major or prelaw to gain from reading this book.
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I really liked the setup of each chapter. The author introduces a scenario (or a real story) and gets you to think about what the right thing to do is. He presents several different theories on what "justice" means and evaluates them. He leaves you with a little bit of a conclusion but enough room for you to disagree or draw your own personal conclusions as well. This book really challenged me to rethink some of my assumptions and where they come from. It was a little hard to get through at times--not a beach book-- but definitely a stimulating book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall the book brings up some interesting points but, some of the chapters are repetative and too much of it is quotes from other pieces of literature
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting compilations of lectures that will challenge our deeply grounded moral codes, and require the reader to view things from a different perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago