• by Michael J. Sandel
  • Narrated by Michael J. Sandel
  • 11 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
Read full review

- Amazon Customer


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.
Read full review

- Greg Hunter "FB"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-15-2009
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio