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Public Philosophy

Public Philosophy

Essays on Morality in Politics

Michael J. Sandel

ISBN 9780674023659

Publication date: 10/31/2006

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.

Praise

  • Michael Sandel can always be counted on to write with elegance and intelligence about important things. Whether you agree or not, you cannot ignore his arguments. We need all the sane voices we can get in the public square and Sandel's is one of the sanest.

    —Jean Bethke Elshtain, The University of Chicago Divinity School

Author

  • Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University and author of The Tyranny of Merit. His freely available online course “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world.

Book Details

  • 304 pages
  • 0-3/4 x 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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