Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

1454 Words Mar 5th, 2012 6 Pages
Defining justice involves an in depth look at what we as individuals and a collective society value. Michael Sandel’s book Justice: What’s the right thing to do? does not attempt to answer these questions for us but rather implores us to look inside ourselves for the answers. This is accomplished by challenging the reader with cases, some hypothetical, and some real, in which the moral basis can be debated from different angles.
We all have views on the death penalty, war, taxes, and religion but few of us take the time to reflect on the logical basis for these values. The first four chapters are filled with many cases that cause the reader to rethink these values or at least the reasoning behind them. I was especially intrigued by the
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267). This would result in more people interacting with each other and hopefully bring about more mutual understanding and civil discourse. The chances of this vision coming to life might be small but it is intriguing none the less. Throughout the book Sandel does an impressive job of explaining difficult scenarios and the way different philosophies would view them. I think that Sandel’s ability to argue the same point from different sides, without trying to bias the reader is the main strength of this book. He does not put the philosophers or subjects up on a pedestal but just argues the facts based on what theory is being discussed. For instance the fact that a utilitarian views taxes much differently then a libertarian does not mean one is better just that “each of these ideals suggests a different way of thinking about justice” (Sandel, 2009, p.19). The one glaring exception to his unbiased style is in chapter 10 when he seems to let his favorable views of the President seep into his writing. The first half of the chapter reads like a White House press release and does little to advance the concepts of the book. I am unclear why Sandel would dedicate page after page advocating President Obama’s views on religions place in politics over President Kennedys, especially since when the book was published Obama did not even have two years in office. It can be a challenge to keep ones political

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