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Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  6,071 ratings  ·  603 reviews
Is killing sometimes morally required? Is the free market fair? It is sometimes wrong to tell the truth? What is justice, and what does it mean? These and other questions are at the heart of Michael Sandel's 'Justice'.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 19th 2009 by Not Avail (first published January 1st 2009)
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Riku Sayuj

Single Quote Review:

Click to Expand.

well a picture-quote...

Click to Expand.

Bonus: A quick passage from the book (representative, both):

And here is the letter of acceptance, shorn of honorific implications, that a philosophically frank law school should send those it admits:

Dear successful applicant,

We are pleased to inform you that your application for admission has been accepted. It turns out that you happen to have the traits that society needs at the moment, so we propose to exploit your assets for society’s advan
اصلا این کتاب چه ارتباطی به من داره؟
اگه موقع خوندن این مرور دارید این سوال رو از خودتون میپرسید فقط توصیهام اینه که پنج دقیقهی اول این ویدئو رو نگاه کنید

مایکل سندل استاد فلسفهی سیاسی دانشگاه هاروارد سالهاست که کورسی داره با عنوان «عدالت» که یکی از پرطرفدارترین کورسهای تاریخ این دانشگاه لقب گرفته. طوری که دیگه کلاسهاش توی فضای متعارف کلاسها جا نمیشه و مدتهاست این کلاسها رو تو آمفیتئاتر این دانشگاه با حضور میانگین بالای هزار نفر دانشجو برگزار میکنه. خوب اگه تا ال
"He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god."

This quote from Aristotle's Politics was new to me. It was one of many highlights in this book.

Sandel's "Justice" is organized in a very interesting way. He starts with utilitarian, then libertarian political philosophy. You might assume he's following a sequence of conservative (less sophisticated) to liberal (more sophisticated). And then, surprise, he throws three c
Jan Rice
On Plato's cave:

...He's right, I think, but only in part. The claims of the cave must be given their due. If moral reflection is dialectical--if it moves back and forth between the judgments we make in concrete situations and the principles that inform those judgments--it needs opinions and convictions, however partial and untutored, as ground and grist. A philosophy untouched by the shadows on the wall can only yield a sterile utopia. (p. 29)

I don't think I ever before heard anyone criticize th
I love books like this: they challenge the mind and lead to great discussions.

Michael Sandel teaches a very popular course at Harvard entitled “Justice.” It’s available in video through the iTunes University (a phenomenal resource, I might add.) Sandel uses a series of hypothetical situations to focus the class on the different ways philosophers would have analyzed and puzzled out solutions to the problems raised in the hypotheticals. (This somewhat Socratic method is also used very effectively
Michael Sandel is a political professor at Harvard and the author of JUSTICE: WHAT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO? After more than two decades of teaching one of the most popular courses in the college's history with more than 15,000 students attending, Sandel wrote the book based on his notes. The conversation begins...

There is an exhilaration with studying philosophy, but it has its dangers. The familiar in life becomes strange, as we reflect on our circumstances. It has a personal risk, because it i
Larry Bassett
This book and its online course got me started (about four years ago, I see) in internet learning. There are now several MOOC (massive open online course) websites that have tens of thousands of students worldwide taking a wide variety of courses. And all for free!

I have taken some online community college courses in Virginia - free for us senior citizens. I started with the local college then moved into courses from other parts of the state. Then I discovered Coursera and have taken courses in
Rizky Akita
If you think "Justice" and "Philosophy" are things you don't really care about or something you consider as 'way too complicated to learn about', then I recommend you to pick this book and add it into your personal bookshelves. I bought this book due to my passion on debating and I thought this book will improve my speech quality. It turned out, Michael J. Sandel fulfills my expectation.Nay, he exceeded my expectation.

Here's my review :

1. Sandel gives a comprehensive overview toward all basic ph

رحلة رائعة جداً وضرورية لكل طالب علم وقارىء ومثقف.
أسلوب الدكتور ساندل مثير جداً وممتع. يحرّك الذهن وينمّيه.


المواضيع المطروحة في هذا الكورس كلها تتمحور حول القيم والمبادىء الأخلاقية،
وكما هو واضح من العنوان فإنها بشكل عام تتحدث وتناقش الشيء الصحيح الذي يجب علينا فعله في حالات ومعضلات أخلاقية مختلفة.
طبعاً الحلقات هي من العمق بحيث تستهلك بشكل أو بآخر طاقة كبيرة من الذهن!
بالنسبة لي كنت أحس بعدما أنهي كل حلقة بنوع من الصداع الخفيف .. اللذيذ ربما :)



أنصح بمشاهدة جميع الحلقات ..
ولكن تحذير ..
Quang Khuê
Ta có thể gặp hàng loạt triết gia nổi tiếng với những tư tưởng để đời của họ trong cuốn sách này. Họ chính là Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Aristotle hay Plato. Được viết rất giống như một quyển mà tôi từng đọc của Richard David Precht, Tôi là ai - và nếu vậy thì bao nhiêu ?, nhưng cuốn này sách này chủ yếu tập trung vào các vấn đề triết học chính trị như phúc lợi xã hội, chế độ quân dịch, tiền lương, nhập cư, phân biệt chủng tộc...chứ không đa dạng như quyển kia. ...more
First I should say right at the beginning that the title is a bit misleading: I don't think there is a single issue in which Sandel tells us explicitly the right thing to do. But he does give what seems to me a very clear description of various ways of thinking about justice. He examines utilitarianism (greatest good for the greatest number), then the absolute privileging of "freedom of choice"--both from the libertarian (largely economic) and from the liberal egalitarian views of Immanuel Kant ...more
Justice: What’s The Right Thing to Do? By Michael J. Sandel

“Justice: What’s The Right Thing to Do?” is a fascinating book about practical justice. Harvard law professor Michael Sandel takes his very popular class to the public and hits upon the most fascinating and controversial topics in an even-handed approach. This excellent 320-page book is broken out in the following ten chapters: 1. Doing the Right Thing, 2. The Greatest Happiness Principle/Utilitarianism, 3. Do We Own Ourselves?/Libertari
Smartly written and easy to read, this book is Sandel's writeup of his legendary Harvard course on Ethics and Justice. I first watched the course online (iTunes) and wanted to read the book.

Both are excellent -- entertaining and enlightening. I can't recommend them more highly.

The book uses real life cases, major ethical "rocks" (abortion, selling human organs, ..) and hypotheticals (e.g. trolley car problems) to elucidate and clarify the totally of Western theoretical philosophy of political e
Jun 12, 2012 Hadrian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to learn ethics and philsophy
An excellent overview of philosophical/ethical systems. If only I had this book earlier when I started reading philosophy, I'd have saved a lot of time. Go for the iTunes U version if you'd like!

Starts off with a brief overview of ethical systems - utilitarianism, libertarianism, Kant's categorial imperative, Rawlsian justice, and then works through case examples - affirmative action, euthanasia, etc. Very clear and thorough arguments, for and against. If Sandel has a bias for one over the other
Jon Stout
Feb 09, 2015 Jon Stout rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: liberals and libertarians
Recommended to Jon by: Dennis Percher
Shelves: philosophy
On one level Sandel’s book may be seen as a survey of the classical conceptions of justice (or how best to structure a society), including the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mills, the liberal egalitarianism of Emmanuel Kant and John Rawls, and the virtue ethics of Aristotle. On that level, Sandel writes a wonderful work in which he plays the various conceptions against each other using controversial test cases in the current news. The book was originally conceived as a Harvard ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who cares about how the idea/word of "justice" is applied.
Shelves: social-justice
I'll make this short and simple: if you care anything about how justice is administered in your country, whatever country that may be, and how the notions of justice are mixed with other areas of life such as politics, markets, civic virtue, citizenship, and so on, then you need to read this book.

It's not a book that has any kind of earthshaking, groundbreaking reveals, nor does it go on to utterly refute one philosophy over another in a dazzling display of deft thought and astute, incisive rea
An accessible introduction to several major schools of philosophy and philosophers including utilitarianism, libertarianism, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, and Aristotle, among others. But just because it's accessible, doesn't mean it's necessarily easy reading. There are deep concepts here that take a while to digest; don't pick this one up looking for a quick read.

Michael Sandel methodically and thoroughly discusses each approach to the concept of justice, defining it, elucidating with examples, p
The Book Nazi
Amidst all this recession and economic downturns experienced in G8 countries..Michael J. Sandel makes sense. He believes that markets if left to themselves or encouraged to spread too far, can injure basic moral values and short change the common good.

From the things I've heard on the Intenet, This Harvard Lecturers introductory course on justice is a hot ticket on the campus. Now readers get to read his arguments in a book form and I have no doubt that this book would appeal to anyone who like
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I live in a country where the head of state seems to think that his duties to the people he governs are restricted to ensuring that they have the chance to become as prosperous as possible, this being the highest good he can provide them (nevermind the fact that his modus operandi for doing so is deeply flawed- he seeks to enable the very wealthy to become even more wealthy claiming that this 'increases the size of the cake' and hence the size of everyone's slice - a piece of sophism that has di ...more
"Justice" is the distillation of the introductory ethics course that Michael Sandel has been teaching for years. You can check out to see video lectures covering many of the same topics covered in "Justice". While the book gives Sandel a bit more space to go into some details not offered in these videos, the two formats are nearly identical.

When it comes to ethics and modern example of ethical theories in action, I'm not sure I've read anyone with a clearer presentation than
People may say that this book is beyond my years of learning, since I'm only 17 years old. I do have to admit, I took down this book for several days and then back to reading it again.

So why did I continue reading?
I'm in love with the facts, that's it. And this book doesn't just explain about justice, it explains what people should do. Justice has many different forms in other cultures. And Michael, I think, defines it as a moral conscience that people has and what it'll do for others. My curios
Sue Lyle
I train teachers in Philosophy for Children and work with children to engage them in philosophising. I found this book marvellous for its clear exposition of three major philosophical positions on justice. His use of real life moral dilemmas and how they could be considered using the philosophical perspectives of utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics was clear, accessible and informed by his extensive knowledge of the philosophy as you would expect from a Harvard professor. I love Sandel' ...more
Terrance Kutney
One of my all-time favourite non-fiction books. Its all about what a political conception of justice is-- basically, Sandel tries to answer the question of what a just society looks like. Sandel runs through the different ways of defining justice, including utilitarianism, libertarianism, and Rawlsism, and he uses some very interesting moral and ethical dilemmas to illustrate how each type of philosophy attempts to define justice.

I feel like I really learned a lot about political philosophy; I
Rascal Drrmrmrr
This reminded me why I didn't major in philosophy in college. I find a lot of the rhetoric problematic, I think, in an attempt to understand justice, that a lot of his comparisons are stretched a little far. But that's my issue with a lot of philosophy writing. Lets string together any two unrelated things in an attempt to understand better this other thing. I dunno, I liked the bits he chose from previous philosophers but I didn't care for his own insights. But I do want to look more into Rawls ...more
Jared Tan
Bookwise, Justice (Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?) is heavier than Money (What Money Can't Buy?), but in real life, I beg to differ.
Ok, I digress, back to the review.

Some parts of the book:

Justice mentions 3 main perspectives. (summarised in my own word)
1. Utilitarian view - using happiness and pleasure to make decisions upon
2. Libertarian view - anything is fine, everyone has a right, as long as coercion does takes place
3. The last view - cultivation of virtue and reasoning about the co
David Lundqvist
Oct 20, 2009 David Lundqvist rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those looking for ideas
Recommended to David by: The Economist
Shelves: philosophy
Michael J. Sandel's Justice offers a refreshingly different look into the world of moral philosophy. It analyses the philosophical positions of Utilitarianism, Teleological thinking, Libertarianism and Liberal Egalitarianism in reference to justice. The analysis is done through a series of moral dilemmas many entertaining and they are sure to divide readers. The book is well written and the explanations of the theories are fantastic and simple to understand. This is a book created with accessibi ...more
Martin Cohen
The book does a good job of outlining the basic philosophical ideas of justice. Sandel makes good use of contemporary and historical choices that people have made to enliven the discussion and to relate it to the reader. The book follows an historical development, covering the utilitarians, Kant and Rawls. He breaks the historical flow to introduce Aristotle at the end. He does this to present his own view of justice. Sandel argues that, as opposed to the utilitarians and Kantians, our view of j ...more
Billie Pritchett
Michael Sandel's Justice reviews four conceptions of justice and advocates one of these conceptions. The first conception (utilitarian) is justice as maximizing the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest number of people. The second conception (libertarian) of justice is based on the idea of self-ownership and complete entitlement to the products of one's labor. The third conception (liberal) is justice as arriving from impartial principles or an impartial position and is largely concerned ...more
I am no student of moral philosophy, and this is the first book I've read from start to finish on the subject, so my opinion about it is limited. What I can say is that I found it illuminating, engaging, and even at times entertaining (the proposed admission letters to prospective college freshmen had me laughing out loud). What Sandel taught me is that while I've thrown around words like "utilitarianism," "libertarianism," "ethics," even "justice," I have used them imprecisely and with hardly a ...more
OK, to be up front, I didn't actually read this book; I watched the 12 hour video podcast of this Harvard Class that I got from iTunesU. The unabridged audiobook is 11 hours and 1 minute, so I figure, "close enough." That having been said, I really enjoyed this experience on two levels: First, the subject matter is a review (by way of discussion) of moral and political philosophy, referencing the great moral philosophers. Sandel starts out with basic tenets and builds into fairly complex issues ...more
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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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“Markets are useful instruments for organizing productive activity. But unless we want to let the market rewrite the norms that govern social institutions, we need a public debate about the moral limits of markets.” 25 likes
“Other animals can make sounds, and sounds can indicate pleasure and pain. But language, a distinctly human capacity, isn´t just for registering pleasure and pain. It´s about declaring what is just and what is unjust, and distinguishing right from wrong. We don´t grasp these things silently, and then put words to them; language is the medium through which we discern and deliberate about the good.” 10 likes
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