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Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  147 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The defect, Sandel maintains, lies in the impoverished vision of citizenship and community shared by Democrats and Republicans alike. American politics has lost its civic voice, leaving both liberals and conservatives unable to inspire the sense of community and civic engagement that self-government requires.

In search of a public philosophy adequate to our time, Sandel ran
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 6th 1998 by Belknap Press (first published 1996)
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T Fool
Feb 17, 2015 T Fool rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Accept this as an argument from ignorance, as you wish.

Only a jurist could give proper respect to the tight argumentation and layering of precedent laid down by Michael Sandel in his book, which is a political argument hoisted onto the written page with the heft of a compulsive legal brief.

It’s put forward as a philosophical exploration, a foundational work for public examination. It seeks to guide public understanding and ultimately attitudes and policy. The understanding of those in power or
Billie Pritchett
Michael Sandel's Democracy's Discontent is a miss for me because I think he misunderstands what liberalism is in its classical philosophical sense. Classical Liberalism presumes the most limited form of government possible on the grounds that we ought to be suspicious of any person or institution claiming to possess political power. Sandel writes that liberalism is about being neutral toward conceptions of the good life but I think this is just a misunderstanding of what liberalism is. Sandel be ...more
William Randolph
Jan 12, 2008 William Randolph rated it really liked it
Recommended to William Randolph by: Katie Spencer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Davis
Sep 05, 2013 Peter Davis rated it really liked it
A great thesis, precisely articulated: (1) there have been two strands in American public philosophy, one from the Founding to the 20th century, and one ascendent today: Civic Republicanism, which argues that the government should take an interest in forming us into citizens for self-government; and Liberalism, which argues the government should be neutral about how we end up, only there to maximize voluntary choice; and (2) the case that a nation neutral about ends will eventually corrode and b ...more
Hu Xiaodi
Jul 21, 2014 Hu Xiaodi rated it really liked it
an interesting and difficult book to read
Mar 03, 2011 Arbitrista rated it liked it
A compelling critique of what he dubs "procedural liberalism," I find myself attracted to Sandel's intent but repelled by some of the consequences of his philosophy. I for one am not quite ready to abandon the importance of individual liberty and to give a privileged position for religious appeals in politics.
Dec 23, 2013 will rated it liked it
Interesting examination of the erosion of (small 'r') republican values and exploration of how the virtue of civic participation might be restored. Lends an interesting alternative perspective to contemporary (and historical) political discourse.
Hannah Thomas
May 24, 2015 Hannah Thomas rated it liked it
The reason I rated this so low is because of the politics are 'opinionated'. The author did clear some things up, yes, but it was based on only one's perspective
It was hard to not doubt most of what Sandel said, but it may have something to do with living in a liberal democracy most of my life.
George C. Anthony
Mar 26, 2008 George C. Anthony rated it it was ok
Talks alot about how America's government was formed, and how we've lost track of the idea of a democratic republic.
Oct 05, 2007 cat marked it as to-read
I received this recommendation for a catholic political wonk...we'll see if i can make it through...
Sep 22, 2012 Wilbur added it
Great book on public policy, and why the procedural republic is a non-starter.
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
Shelves: political, science
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Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1980, and the author of many books. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Michael J. Sandel ( March 5, 1953) is an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for the Harvard course 'Justice', which is available to view online, and f
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“Toleration and freedom and fairness are values too, and they can hardly be defended by the claim that no values can be defended. So it is a mistake to affirm...that all values are merely subjective.” 0 likes
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