Summary of Justice

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8 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

8 Style


“The way things are does not determine the way they ought to be.” So writes Harvard government and political philosophy professor Michael J. Sandel in this all-encompassing tour through the social, economic and political issues that preoccupy modern society. Seeking to define justice in a just society, Sandel forays into affirmative action, paid militaries, infant surrogacy, free markets and even cannibalism. His reviews of classical and modern philosophies, rightly intended to guide the reader through his exposition, slow down what is otherwise an informative, illuminating and entertaining book. Sandel argues for a “politics of moral engagement” that brings all citizens together in a quest for a just society. getAbstract highly recommends this book to free marketers, libertarians, utilitarians and people of all philosophical and political stripes.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How contemporary dilemmas blur social justice;
  • How philosophies about utility, freedom and human rights govern modern American society; and
  • How a “new politics of the common good” could lead to resolving social and political issues.

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel is a professor of government at Harvard University, where he teaches political philosophy.



Where’s the Justice in That?
In 2004, Hurricane Charley left death and destruction – and inspired price gouging – across Florida. Hotel rooms, ice and generators all sold for multiples of their usual cost. Storm victims cried foul, but some commentators argued that supply and demand set...

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