Michael J. Sandel
|Thesis||Liberalism and the Problem of the Moral Subject (1980)|
|Doctoral advisor||Charles Taylor|
|Communitarian critique of liberalism|
|Part of the Politics series on|
|Part of the Politics series on|
Michael J. Sandel ( // ; born 1953) is an American political philosopher. He is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government Theory at Harvard University Law School, where his course Justice was the university's first course to be made freely available online and on television. It has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world, including in China, where Sandel was named the "most influential foreign figure of the year" (China Newsweek). He is also known for his critique of John Rawls' A Theory of Justice in his first book, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982).
Political philosophy, also known as political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority: what they are, if they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect, what form it should take, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.
John Bordley Rawls was an American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls's work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself."
He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Founded in 1780, the Academy is dedicated to honoring excellence and leadership, working across disciplines and divides, and advancing the common good.
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Sandel was born in Minneapolis [ citation needed ] to a Jewish family, which moved to Los Angeles when he was thirteen. He was president of his senior class at Palisades High School (1971) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University with a bachelor's degree in politics (1975). He received his doctorate from Balliol College, Oxford (1981), as a Rhodes Scholar, where he studied under philosopher Charles Taylor.
Minneapolis is the county seat of Hennepin County and the larger of the Twin Cities, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. As of 2017, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 45th-largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 422,331. The Twin Cities metropolitan area consists of Minneapolis, its neighbor Saint Paul, and suburbs which altogether contain about 3.6 million people, and is the third-largest economic center in the Midwest.
Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.
Sandel subscribes to a certain version of communitarianism (although he is uncomfortable with the label), and in this vein he is perhaps best known for his critique of John Rawls' A Theory of Justice . Rawls' argument depends on the assumption of the veil of ignorance, which he claims allows us to become "unencumbered selves".
Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Its overriding philosophy is based upon the belief that a person's social identity and personality are largely molded by community relationships, with a smaller degree of development being placed on individualism. Although the community might be a family, communitarianism usually is understood, in the wider, philosophical sense, as a collection of interactions, among a community of people in a given place, or among a community who share an interest or who share a history. Communitarianism usually opposes extreme individualism and disagrees with extreme laissez-faire policies that neglect the stability of the overall community.
A Theory of Justice is a 1971 work of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls, in which the author addresses the problem of distributive justice. The theory utilises an updated form of Kantian philosophy and a variant form of conventional social contract theory. Rawls's theory of justice is fully a political theory of justice as opposed to other forms of justice discussed in other disciplines and contexts.
Sandel's view is that we are by nature encumbered to an extent that makes it impossible even in the hypothetical to have such a veil. Some examples of such ties are those with our families, which we do not make by conscious choice but are born with, already attached. Because they are not consciously acquired, it is impossible to separate oneself from such ties. Sandel believes that only a less-restrictive, looser version of the veil of ignorance should be postulated. Criticism such as Sandel's inspired Rawls to subsequently argue that his theory of justice was not a "metaphysical" theory but a "political" one, a basis on which an overriding consensus could be formed among individuals and groups with many different moral and political views.
Sandel joined the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University in 1980.He has taught the Justice course at Harvard University for two decades. More than 15,000 students have taken the course, making it one of the most highly attended in Harvard's history. The fall 2007 class was the largest ever at Harvard, with a total of 1,115 students. The fall 2005 course was recorded, and is offered online for students through the Harvard Extension School.
An abridged form of this recording is now a 12-episode TV series, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?, in a co-production of WGBH and Harvard University. Episodes are available on the Justice with Michael Sandel website.There is also an accompanying book, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? and the sourcebook of readings Justice: A Reader.
The popularity of the show is attributed to the discussion-oriented format (the Socratic method)—rather than recitation and memorization of facts—and to Sandel's engaging style, incorporating context into discussion; for example, he starts one lecture with a discussion of the ethics of ticket scalping.
The BBC broadcast eight 30-minute segments from the series on BBC Four starting on 25 January 2011.
In April 2012, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a three-part series and later podcast presented by Sandel titled The Public Philosopher.These followed a format similar to the Justice lectures, this time recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics. Across three programs, Sandel debates with the audience whether universities should give preference to students from poorer backgrounds, whether a nurse should be paid more than a banker, and whether it is right to bribe people to be healthy.
Sandel is currently teaching his Justice course on edX.On April 29, 2013, the philosophy department faculty of San Jose State University addressed an open letter to Sandel protesting the use of MOOCs (massively open online courses) such as his Justice course. Sandel publicly responded: "The worry that the widespread use of online courses will damage departments in public universities facing budgetary pressures is a legitimate concern that deserves serious debate, at edX and throughout higher education. The last thing I want is for my online lectures to be used to undermine faculty colleagues at other institutions."
Sandel also co-teaches, with Douglas Melton, the seminar "Ethics and Biotechnology", which considers the ethical implications of a variety of biotechnological procedures and possibilities.
Sandel is the author of several publications, including Democracy's Discontent and Public Philosophy. Public Philosophy is a collection of his own previously published essays examining the role of morality and justice in American political life. He offers a commentary on the roles of moral values and civic community in the American electoral process—a much-debated aspect of the 2004 US election cycle and of current political discussion.
Sandel gave the 2009 Reith Lectures on "A New Citizenship" on BBC Radio, addressing the "prospect for a new politics of the common good".The lectures were delivered in London on May 18, Oxford on May 21, Newcastle on May 26, and Washington, DC, in early June, 2009.
He is also the author of the book What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (2012), which argues some desirable things—such as body organs and the right to kill endangered species—should not be traded for cash.
Sandel served on the George W. Bush administration's President's Council on Bioethics.
In 2009, Sandel criticized Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker's market immigration proposal. This proposed solution entailed imposing refugee quotas on nations according to their wealth and then allowing countries to pay other, poorer countries to take refugees allotted under their quota.Sandel concludes that "a market in refugees changes our view of who refugees are and how they should be treated. It encourages the participants—the buyers, the sellers and also those whose asylum is being haggled over—to think of refugees as burdens to be unloaded or as revenue sources rather than as human beings in peril."
Reflective equilibrium is a state of balance or coherence among a set of beliefs arrived at by a process of deliberative mutual adjustment among general principles and particular judgments. Although he did not use the term, philosopher Nelson Goodman introduced the method of reflective equilibrium as an approach to justifying the principles of inductive logic. The term 'reflective equilibrium' was coined by John Rawls and popularized in his A Theory of Justice as a method for arriving at the content of the principles of justice.
The Reith Lectures is a series of annual radio lectures given by leading figures of the day, commissioned by the BBC and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. The lectures were inaugurated in 1948 by the BBC to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Lord Reith, the corporation's first director-general.
Onora Sylvia O'Neill, Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve is a philosopher and a crossbench member of the House of Lords.
Kantianism is the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher born in Königsberg, Prussia. The term Kantianism or Kantian is sometimes also used to describe contemporary positions in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics.
Michael Laban Walzer is a prominent American political theorist and public intellectual. A professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey, he is co-editor of Dissent, an intellectual magazine that he has been affiliated with since his years as an undergraduate at Brandeis University. He has written books and essays on a wide range of topics—many in political ethics—including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, Zionism, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic. To date, he has written 27 books and published over 300 articles, essays, and book reviews in Dissent, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harpers, and many philosophical and political science journals.
Thomas Winfried Menko Pogge is a German philosopher and is the Director of the Global Justice Program and Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. In addition to his Yale appointment, he is the Research Director of the Centre for the Study of the Mind in Nature at the University of Oslo, a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University and Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Central Lancashire's Centre for Professional Ethics. Pogge is also an editor for social and political philosophy for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
David Schmidtz is a Canadian-American philosopher currently serving as Kendrick Professor of Philosophy, Eller Chair of Service-Dominant Logic, and editor-in-chief of the Cambridge Press journal Social Philosophy and Policy. He was also the inaugural Head of the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science at the University of Arizona.
Thomas Michael "Tim" Scanlon, usually cited as T. M. Scanlon, is an American philosopher. He was the Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity in Harvard University's Department of Philosophy until his retirement at the end of the 2015–2016 academic year. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.
Allan Gibbard is the Richard B. Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Gibbard has made major contributions to contemporary ethical theory, in particular metaethics, where he has developed a contemporary version of non-cognitivism. He has also published articles in the philosophy of language, metaphysics, and social choice theory.
Joshua Cohen is an American philosopher specializing in political philosophy. He has taught at Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently a member of the faculty at Apple University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Sebastiano Maffettone (1948) is University Professor and Dean of the Political Science Department at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome, where he teaches Political Philosophy and Theories of Globalization. He has taught in several Italian universities as well as International universities. Maffettone graduated summa cum laude from the University of Naples in 1970, and he completed his graduate studies in social philosophy LSE in 1976, under the supervision of philosophers such as Karl Popper and Amartya K. Sen.
Norman Daniels is an American political philosopher and philosopher of science, political theorist, ethicist, and bioethicist at Harvard University and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Before his career at Harvard, Daniels had built his career as a medical ethicist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and at Tufts University School of Medicine, also in Boston.
David Lyons is an American moral, political and legal philosopher who is emeritus professor of philosophy and of law at Boston University.
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice is a book about liberalism by the philosopher Michael Sandel. The work helped start the liberalism-communitarianism debate that dominated Anglo-American political philosophy in the 1980s.
Political ethics is the practice of making moral judgements about political action and political agents. It covers two areas. The first is the ethics of process, which deals with public officials and the methods they use. The second area, the ethics of policy concerns judgments about policies and laws.
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? is a 2009 book on political philosophy by Michael J. Sandel.
Jason F. Brennan is an American philosopher and political scientist. He is currently the Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business and Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.
Gerald Allan Cohen, known as G. A. Cohen or Jerry Cohen, was a Canadian Marxist political philosopher who held the positions of Quain Professor of Jurisprudence, University College London and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford.
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