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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? Michael J. Sandel's "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, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one 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, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these con?icts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.
Justice brings together in one indispensable volume essential readings on justice and moral reasoning. With readings from major thinkers from the classical era up to the present, the collection provides a thematic overview of the concept of justice. Moreover, Sandel's organization of the readings and his own commentaries allow readers to engage with a variety of pressing contemporary issues. Looking at a host of ethical dilemmas, including affirmative action, conscription, income distribution, and gay rights, from a variety of angles—morally, legally, politically—the collection engages with the core concerns of political philosophy: individual rights and the claims of community, equality and inequality, morality and law, and ultimately, justice. With concise section introductions that put the readings in context, this anthology is an invaluable tool for students, teachers, and anyone who wishes to engage in the great moral debates that have animated politics from classical times to our own.
In this book, Michael Sandel takes up some of the hotly contested moral and political issues of our time, including affirmative action, assisted suicide, abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, the meaning of toleration and civility, the gap between rich and poor, the role of markets, and the place of religion in public life. He argues that the most prominent ideals in our political life--individual rights and freedom of choice--do not by themselves provide an adequate ethic for a democratic society. Sandel calls for a politics that gives greater emphasis to citizenship, community, and civic virtue, and that grapples more directly with questions of the good life. Liberals often worry that inviting moral and religious argument into the public sphere runs the risk of intolerance and coercion. These essays respond to that concern by showing that substantive moral discourse is not at odds with progressive public purposes, and that a pluralist society need not shrink from engaging the moral and religious convictions that its citizens bring to public life.
Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay? In What Money Can't Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don't belong? What are the moral limits of markets? In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life—medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can't Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society—and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don't honor and that money can't buy?
Previous edition published in 1982.
Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature—to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature? The Case against Perfection explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda. In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America’s preeminent moral and political thinkers.
In Michael Sandel the Chinese have found a guide through the ethical dilemmas created by their swift embrace of a market economy—one whose communitarian ideas resonate with China’s own rich, ancient philosophical traditions. This volume explores the connections and tensions revealed in this unlikely episode of Chinese engagement with the West.
Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill, is an essay written to provide support for the value of utilitarianism as a moral theory, and to respond to misconceptions about it. Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness." Mill defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain. He argues that pleasure can differ in quality and quantity, and that pleasures that are rooted in one's higher faculties should be weighted more heavily than baser pleasures. Furthermore, Mill argues that people's achievement of goals and ends, such as virtuous living, should be counted as part of their happiness.
Though the revised edition of A Theory of Justice, published in 1999, is the definitive statement of Rawls's view, so much of the extensive literature on Rawls's theory refers to the first edition. This reissue makes the first edition once again available for scholars and serious students of Rawls's work.
In this book, Bonnie Honig rethinks that established relation between politics and political theory. From liberal to communitarian to republican, political theorists of opposing positions often treat political theory less as an exploration of politics than as a series of devices of its displacement. Honig characterizes Kant, Rawls, and Sandel as virtue theorists of politics, arguing that they rely on principles of right, rationality, community, and law to protect their political theories from the conflict and uncertainty of political reality. Drawing on Nietzsche and Arendt, as well as Machiavelli and Derrida, Honig explores an alternative politics of virtù, which treats the disruptions of political order as valued sites of democratic freedom and individuality.
Much contemporary political philosophy has been a debate between utilitarianism on the one hand and Kantian, or rights-based ethic has recently faced a growing challenge from a different direction, from a view that argues for a deeper understanding of citizenship and community than the liberal ethic allows. The writings collected in this volume present leading statements of rights-based liberalism and of the communitarian, or civic republican alternatives to that position. The principle of selection has been to shift the focus from the familiar debate between utilitarians and Kantian liberals in order to consider a more powerful challenge ot the rights-based ethic, a challenge indebted, broadly speaking, to Aristotle, Hegel, and the civic republican tradition. Contributors include Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, Alasdair MacIntyre.
Eight outstanding scholars contribute to this collection original essays on the philosophical foundations and political implications of egalitarian justice. The positions represented span the political spectrum, and the debate moves back and forth between the theoretical and the practical. Expressing often radically different political points of view, the contributors discuss such topics as individual rights, human good, mutual indebtedness, sexual relations, the family, individual desert, private property, self-ownership, and the welfare state.
Assumptions and institutions that we have taken for granted for fifty years are proving inadequate for the world now emerging. Moreover, mono-casual explanations of rapid global change do not work. Religious as well as economic dynamics, cultural as well as political forces, environmental as well as military constraints, are frequently working at cross-purposes in shaping a globe we cannot yet fathom. The essays in this volume reach beyond the mere description of phenomena to explore deeper currents of institutional breakdown and competing cultural drives that are radically reshaping our world. Covering topics ranging from the New Silk Road to changes in school governance around the world, the authors offer a critical, historically-informed assessment of the diverse dynamics that are undermining or nullifying current paradigms of thought and action. Drawing on their diverse backgrounds in economics, international affairs, ethics, history, education, and religion, the authors share the conviction that long-standing assumptions about a state-centered, secular-tending, economically converging world are in large measure mistaken. A paradigm shift is required if we are to understand and constructively shape the twenty-first century world.
The Allegory of the Cave, or Plato's Cave, was presented by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work Republic (514a–520a) to compare "the effect of education (παιδεία) and the lack of it on our nature". It is written as a dialogue between Plato's brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates, narrated by the latter. The allegory is presented after the analogy of the sun (508b–509c) and the analogy of the divided line (509d–511e). All three are characterized in relation to dialectic at the end of Books VII and VIII (531d–534e). Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners' reality.
This open access book seeks to identify the ethical spirit of European Union (EU) law, a context in which we can observe a trend towards increasing references to the terms ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’. This aspect is all the more important because EU law is now affecting more and more areas of national law, including such sensitive ones as the patentability of human life. Especially when unethical behaviour produces legal consequences, the frequent lack of clearly defined concepts remains a challenge, particularly against the background of the principle of legal certainty. This raises the question to which extent the content of these references is determined and whether it is possible to identify an ethical spirit of EU law. Answering that question, in turn, entails addressing the following questions: In references to ethics concerning EU law, can we identify references to a particular theory of practical philosophy at all; and, if so, to one or more normative ethical theories (deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics)? Further, should these non-legal concepts be imported in an unaltered way (“absolute approach”), or be adapted to the legal context (“relative approach”)? This book explores the different layers of EU law (primary law, agreements, secondary law, and tertiary law), including the role of ethics in EU lawmaking and in EU case law, as well as the implementation of relevant EU directives in selected Member States. In addition to the above-mentioned normative philosophical lens, the book also analyzes the findings from the legal lens of EU integration, i.e., especially EU values, human rights and the cornerstone of human dignity.
Equality and Liberty: Analysing Rawls and Nozick is an indispensable source for those seriously interested in some rigorous assessments of the ideas of America's two most popular political philosophers. The essays in this volume cover a wide range of topics, some engaging each other in their analyses of particular Rawlsian or Nozickian themes. This collection of recent essays brings the student up-to-date concerning some of the more recent developments and assessments of Rawlsian and Nozickian ideas.
This book is a statement of a general theory of law. In technical terms it is not a book about jurisprudence (the philosophy of law) but rather a book of jurisprudence; in other words it proposes a philosophy or theory of law. It provides answers to the questions, 'what is law?' and 'what is justice?', and it claims to do so in a better and more comprehensive way than existing theories. In answering these questions the book draws on sources that have addressedthese questions down through the ages: among the key influences, for example, are Roman law and the works of Aristotle, St Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Hobbes. These and many other sources are combined with additional analysis and ideas to propose a complete and fresh account of how 'law' and 'justice'should be understood.