Book Report: Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

My first exposure to Michael Sandel was through his iTunes U course Justice, available here online. Sandel excelled at making accessible philosophers with names like Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle. His lectures were chock-full of examples, and as a professor, he used humor and wit to captivate his students. At the time, I had not realized he was an author as well.


At the recommendation of my former debate coach Daniel Hugo, I borrowed Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? from my local library. This book distills the most intriguing aspects of Sandel's course, supplemented with additional information and a more rigorous examination of the real world implications of various philosophies. In simple terms, Sandel lays bare the rudiments of philosophy while also interjecting his own subjective opinions.

I highly recommend this text to anyone seeking an introduction to the philosophers whose thoughts continue to influence both individual decision making and domestic and international policy formulation. Sandel's conclusive call for the reinvigoration of civil society is a powerful and rousing call to anyone disillusioned by partisanship and increasing inequality within American society. For debaters, this text represents a necessary link between the philosophers of old and the current topics of debate. Everyone should read this.