Steve's Reviews > Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Justice by Michael J. Sandel
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's review
May 30, 11

bookshelves: kindle, law, non-fiction, philosophy, reference
Read in May, 2011

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 ethics, distributive justice and morality.

The book performs an exposition of all the major approaches to these from Utilitarianism (Bentham, Mills), to modern liberal theories focused on rights (Locke's theory of unalienable property rights and limited government, Kant's case for rights and his categorical imperative, the Libertarianism of Nozick, the appeal to egalitarian principles from Rawls) to the classical Greek view and Aristotle's focus on Telos and virtue.

Sandel is great at keeping the debates honest and bringing in socially relevant themes.
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