Markets, Morals, and Justice

November 11, 2009

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Michael J. Sandel

Michael Sandel's “Justice” course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard University. 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 his new book, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?, Sandel explores the meaning of justice, including the role of markets and their moral limits, at home and abroad. Should immigrants, for example, pay for citizenship? Should we outsource war to private military contractors? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it possible, or desirable, to legislate morality? Sandel calls for a more robust public debate about such questions, as part of a 'new citizenship.'

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in contemporary political philosophy, including "Ethics and Biotechnology," “Markets, Morals, and Law,” and “Globalization and Its Discontents.” His undergraduate course, “Justice,” has enrolled more than 14,000 students. This fall, public television is airing a 12-part series based on the course. The series appears on WTTW on Sundays at 11:00 AM. Sandel's books and his writings have been translated into eleven foreign languages, and have also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and The New York Times. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations, Sandel earned his B.A. from Brandeis University and received his D.Phil. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

 

Recorded Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at Fairmont Hotel.