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Customer Review

on 5 August 2012
Michael Sandel is a distinguished philosopher with an unusual capacity for presenting complex philosophical ideas in an accessible way. If you have never really thought about concepts of justice before, then the book may well be something of a revelation. If you have, then you will probably never have come across such a clear exposition of the ideas of some of the greatest philosophers to tackle ethical questions. The chapter on Kant is especially good, and almost made me warm to someone who could argue, with great conviction, that it was wrong to tell a lie, even to save someone's life. By the end of the first two thirds of the book, you will have been through a short but very useful course in ethics, presenting a number of different ways of looking at important questions, all of them interesting, none of them perfect.
Which is where the problem begins. Because the book is written for an American audience, who can be assumed to be largely ignorant about the rest of the world, the practical examples are mostly taken from recent newsworthy recent events in the United States. Unfortunately, most of these examples are not actually very profound, and not very interesting to non-Americans. It's possible to think of much more interesting and useful examples from history, but that would clearly require knowledge of, and interest in, issues which the original audience for the book (Harvard undergraduates) was assumed not to possess. Pity really.
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Product Details

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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