Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics

Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics

Paperback

By (author) Michael J. Sandel

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  • Publisher: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 203mm x 23mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 31 October 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 067402365X
  • ISBN 13: 9780674023659
  • Sales rank: 81,474

Product description

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. 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.

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Author information

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University.

Review quote

Michael Sandel...believes that liberal appeals to individual rights and to the broad values of fairness and equality make a poor case for the progressive case, both as a matter of strategy and as a matter of principle. The country and the Democratic party would be better off, he thinks, if progressives made more of an effort to inspire the majority to adopt their vision of the common good and make it the democratic ground for public policy and law...Anyone concerned over the political success of conservatism in recent years must be interested in this critical analysis. -- Thomas Nagel The New York Review of Books [Sandel] explains that our living in a pluralist society with differing moral ideals does not inhibit our discussion of issues like abortion and stem-cell research but instead helps us resolve them by looking at what it means to live 'a good life.' This thought-provoking book will be valuable to the general reader as well as scholars. -- Scott Duimstra Library Journal 20050915 Are the key values and beliefs that drive democracy in the United States sufficient to cope with our current problems? Since publishing his first book in 1982, Michael Sandel has offered a negative answer to that question by focusing on what he sees as widespread feelings of anxiety emerging from citizens' recognition that they are unable to shape either their personal or their collective environments. He roots that pathology in our uncritical acceptance of rights, fairness, and individual choice as the hard parameters of legitimate politics, and proposes instead a return to a pre-liberal perfectionism that emphasizes responsibility, civic duty, and the common good. This new volume, which collects articles previously published between 1983 and 2004, provides a valuable overview of what Sandel calls his "public philosophy"...His arguments are broad-ranging, lucid, and sincere in their concern for our current public maladies. As such, they demand attention and engagement. -- William Lund Social Theory and Practice 20070701

Table of contents

Introduction Part I. American Civic Life 1. America's Search for a Public Philosophy 2. Beyond Individualism: Democrats and Community 3. The Politics of Easy Virtue 4. Big Ideas 5. The Problem with Civility 6. Impeachment--Then and Now 7. Robert F. Kennedy's Promise Part II. Moral and Political Arguments 8. Against State Lotteries 9. Commercials in the Classroom 10. Branding the Public Realm 11. Sports and Civic Identity 12. History for Sale 13. The Market for Merit 14. Should We Buy the Right to Pollute? 15. Honor and Resentment 16. Arguing Affirmative Action 17. Should Victims Have a Say in Sentencing? 18. Clinton and Kant on Lying 19. Is There a Right to Assisted Suicide? 20. Embryo Ethics: The Moral Logic of Stem Cell Research 21. Moral Argument and Liberal Toleration: Abortion and Homosexuality Part III. Liberalism, Pluralism, and Community 22. Morality and the Liberal Ideal 23. The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self 24. Justice as Membership 25. The Peril of Extinction 26. Dewey's Liberalism and Ours 27. Mastery and Hubris in Judaism: What's Wrong with Playing God? 28. Political Liberalism 29. Remembering Rawls 30. The Limits of Communitarianism Notes Credits Index