Michael J. Sandel


Born
March 05, 1953

Website

Genre

Influences
Walzer, Rawls, Kant


Michael J. Sandel (b. 1953) is an American political philosopher wholives in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1980. He is best known for the Harvard course 'Justice', which is available to view online, and for his critique of John Rawls' A Theory of Justice in his first book, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.

Sandel subscribes to a certain version of communitarianism (although he is uncomfortable with the label), and in this vein he is perhaps best known for his critique of Rawls. Rawls's argument depends on the assumption of the veil of ignorance, whic
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Average rating: 4.1 · 20,521 ratings · 1,946 reviews · 18 distinct worksSimilar authors
Justice: What's the Right T...

4.26 avg rating — 11,943 ratings — published 2009 — 62 editions
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What Money Can't Buy: The M...

3.89 avg rating — 7,149 ratings — published 2012 — 48 editions
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The Case Against Perfection...

3.76 avg rating — 600 ratings — published 2007 — 19 editions
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Liberalism and the Limits o...

3.89 avg rating — 247 ratings — published 1982 — 17 editions
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Democracy's Discontent: Ame...

3.87 avg rating — 177 ratings — published 1996 — 2 editions
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Justice: A Reader

3.90 avg rating — 151 ratings2 editions
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Public Philosophy: Essays o...

3.91 avg rating — 166 ratings — published 2005 — 9 editions
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Liberalism and Its Critics

3.84 avg rating — 49 ratings — published 1984 — 5 editions
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Justice with Michael Sandel

4.52 avg rating — 31 ratings — published 2005 — 2 editions
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Encountering China: Michael...

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liked it 3.00 avg rating — 3 ratings2 editions
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“First, individual rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the general good, and second, the principles of justice that specify these rights cannot be premised on any particular vision of the good life. What justifies the rights is not that they maximize the general welfare or otherwise promote the good, but rather that they comprise a fair framework within which individuals and groups can choose their own values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for others.”
Michael J. Sandel, Liberalism and Its Critics

“To read these books, in this way, as an exercise in self-knowledge, carries certain risks. Risks that are both personal and political. Risks that every student of Political Philosophy has known. These risks spring from the fact that philosophy teaches us, and unsettles us, by confronting us with what we already know. There is an irony: the difficulty of this course consists in the fact that it teaches what you already know. It works by taking what we know from familiar unquestioned settings, and making it strange. [...] Philosophy estranges us from the familiar, not by supplying new information, but by inviting and provoking a new way of seeing.

But, and here is the risk, once the familiar turns strange, it is never quite the same again. Self-knowledge is like lost innocence; however unsettling you find it, it can never be 'unthought' or 'unknown'. What makes this enterprise difficult, but also revetting, is that Moral and Political Philosophy is a story, and you don't know where the story would lead, but you do know that the story is about You.”
Michael J. Sandel

“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.”
Michael J. Sandel, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

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