Justice – Michael Sandel

Michael Sandel, eminent political philosopher at Harvard, teaches a course called Justice – which you can take for free online – that examines how different philosophers define justice and how their definition would play out in our modern society.  The book is pretty much an abridged version of the class.  But, taken together, the book and the online course really teach us something about justice and how it is applied.  The book itself examines the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, John Mills, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, and Aristotle and how they define and see justice in their respective societies.  Sandel than applies these different theories to our modern lives to show how they would work; furthermore, he demonstrates how other philosophers of justice would object.  Sandel therefore shows both sides to every argument and allows for the reader to decided which method of justice would fit their personal belief system.  Sandel does not give his own opinion until the last several pages which I think is admirable as he does not espouse his own thoughts on the reader.  Overall a fairly good read and combined with the online lectures really reinforces the concepts being taught.  This isn’t a polemical it is to help the reader see and think about questions differently – the goal of philosophy.

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