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Justice | [Michael J. Sandel]

Justice

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? Do individual rights and the common good conflict? These questions are at the core of our public life today - and at the heart of Justice, in which Michael J. Sandel shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us to make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well.
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Publisher's Summary

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?

These questions are at the core of our public life today - and at the heart of Justice, in which Michael J. Sandel shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us to make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well.

Sandel's legendary 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. In the fall of 2009, PBS will air a series based on the course.

Justice offers listeners the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students - the challenge of thinking our way through the hard moral challenges we confront as citizens. It is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, a book 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, the moral limits of markets, patriotism and dissent - Sandel shows how even the most hotly contested issues can be illuminated by reasoned moral argument.Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise - an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the big questions of our civic life.

©2009 Michael J. Sandel (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"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 Hutchinson Professor of Ethics and Public Life, Cornell University)

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  •  
    Neil Babcox 11-11-09
    Neil Babcox 11-11-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very worthwhile book"

    Justice, by Michael J. Sandel, is a book version of one of the most popular classes at Harvard. In the course of the book, Sandel deals with just about every political/ethical hot button issue you can think of, from abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage to the redistribution of wealth. The purpose of the author is not simply to deal with these issues individually, but to show that how we resolve these issues is dependent on a much larger question: what is justice and what does it mean to live in a just society? Sandel compares and contrasts the three most influential theories of justice.
    In the process, Sandel explains the views of Aristotle, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Rawls and others. Do not let this scare you off! Sandel is an exceptional teacher and his explanations are as simple and as clear as possible. Though Sandel has his own point of view, he is up front about it and is very fair in his treatment of different viewpoints. whether you are coming from the Left or the Right, there ismuch to learn and appreciate here. One of the main points Sandel makes throughout the book(and here he is in agreement with President Obama) is that Progressives were mistaken in ceding many moral and religious issues to the Conservatives. This book deserves a wide readership. It is currently on the New York Times Best Seller List.
    I'm generally not a fan of authors reading their own books. This one is an exception. Sandel does an excellent job and his sincerity is evident in the tone of his voice.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 10-31-09
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 10-31-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Political philosophy made interesting"

    Michael Sandel does an excellent job of making political philosophy understandable and interesting. His stories are relevant and interesting. This is a very good read on important and current topics. A definite five.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 05-27-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 05-27-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Moral Philosophy for the Novice"

    This is far more than "Moral Philosophy for Dummies" while an exceptional, thougthful discussion of the topic. The section on Kant was worth the price alone. If you are looking for the "definitive work" on moral philosophy you may be disappointed. If you are interested in developing your understanding of the subject, this is a great place to start.

    The book is written and read very well by the author himself.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer LaGrangeville, ny United States 04-21-13
    Amazon Customer LaGrangeville, ny United States 04-21-13 Member Since 2005
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    "One of my Favorite Books"
    Where does Justice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my Favorite Books. I keep this on my mp3 always and have relistened many times


    Any additional comments?

    This course helps think about complex issues and develop your point of view while understanding the view point of others

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles USA 02-26-13
    Charles USA 02-26-13 Member Since 2008

    Wonderchuck

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    "Dangerous"

    This is one of the best books I've listened to. I love when the author reads his/her own work as in this case. The sentences always flow better than with another narrator. I thought this book was fluid and compounding. I feel like I understand my own opinions better. At least once I realized the reasons I justified an opinion were not the reasons I held the opinion in the first place. Maybe that is the danger with reading books. It is certainly a danger while reading this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer houston, TX 07-09-12
    Amazon Customer houston, TX 07-09-12 Member Since 2010

    Jesusgarciab

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    "How I started to love philosophy"
    Would you listen to Justice again? Why?

    definitely, It is so full of context, and so well narrated that made me enjoy every minute of it. Besides, it does not "fool around" (without offense to other philosophers, this is mainly because of my problem concentrating for longer periods) and gets to the main points, analyzes several opinions and most of the times leaves it up to you to make up your mind and start thinking.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The way it is organized... it is not chronollogically... i think sandell was a genius when using different situations and dilemmas to introduce the listeners to the different stands on political and moral philosophy. He does not go very deep into each one of them, but gives you just the right amount to let you on your own if you feel like it.


    What about Michael J. Sandel’s performance did you like?

    Excellent... clear, passionate, and very good overall...


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not exactly extreme like those emotional responses... (i am not good at expressiong my emotions) BUT it was not few times when I was left in awe because of these new ideas that i had never thought of... or that, even though I had, I could not put them into words... to know that there are (and were) people thinking about these big and important ideas made me very very happy... I felt like a little child when I learned something new and ran to my girlfriend to tell her about so we could speak a little better now (she is far better educated than me and sometimes i felt bad about not understanding what she was saying)


    Any additional comments?

    to mr sandell...

    Please write more books like this... only getting to understand the intuition and a general idea about what philosophy does for humanity, and specially with the talent you have to transmit that knowledge, i guess only then will the lay people like me start to appreciate it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Brasília, Brazil 06-26-12
    Marcus Brasília, Brazil 06-26-12 Member Since 2010

    mvrb

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    "Provocative"

    The book examines the different meanings of justice. The author dialogues with philosophers that reflected about this question and its implications. The arguments are exposed in chronological order and each chapter posed a modern discussion where a particular notion of justice can intervene. The narrative is clear and understandable even for foreigner like me. Good and insightful introduction in the field of moral philosophy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Glendale, CA, United States 12-06-10
    Heather Glendale, CA, United States 12-06-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Very up-to-date issues"

    I enjoyed this book greatly. The author brings up current events and issues and then analyzes them in light of different theories of justice. I like the way he brought up a wide range of examples, from golf to war to finance. A lot of the analysis and theory was completely new to me; this book gave me tools to use when thinking about critical issues we face.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Hunter Midway 07-20-10
    Greg Hunter Midway 07-20-10 Member Since 2007

    FB

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    "Complexities"

    I have just started the book - I enjoy it - but here are some comments on how issues are more complex than discussed - I totally agree with the author (paraphrasing) that before we can know what ought to be we have to know what is - this makes it very striking that the author is so naive as to think it possible the CEO's of Investment Banks were telling the truth when they told Congress that they honestly think they didn't do anything wrong. Or when he believes the story of the Special Forces sent to kill or capture an Al Quaeda leader - that they did not have any rope to tie up 3 goatherds who stumbled upon them (no plastic ties or first aid bandages- and their mission included "capturing" ?)- go online and most SF do not believe the story. And I am surprised he didn't bring up broader issues: is it moral to Invade foreign countries? should goatherds kill any special forces they encounter since they are apt to kill them? how would this moral dilemma appear to an Afghan? or finally should this book be translated into Pashto - for the sake of SF I think not - for the sake of Afghan goatherds I think so.

    So - you see the book does bring up interesting ideas - I reccommend it. The author is far
    wiser on the issues than I am - but - like all books - consider it written by a fallible or at least non omniscient narrator.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Palo Alto, CA, United States 02-19-10
    Linda Palo Alto, CA, United States 02-19-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Thought-provoking listening"

    Taking this course in college would have enhanced my understanding of current legal arguments. This is a clear discussion of the basis of personal and social rights and libertarian views and reasons for discord.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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