Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard, exploring some of the most hotly contested moral and political issues of our time.
Michael Sandel is one of the best known American public intellectuals. The London Observer calls him "one of the most popular teachers in the world" and indeed his lectures at Harvard draw thousands of students eager to discuss big questions of modern political life: bioethics, torture, rights versus responsibilities, the value we put on things. Sandel's class is a primer on thinking through the hard choices we face as citizens. The course has been turned into a public TV series with companion website and book: Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? In his newest book, What Money Can't Buy, he challenges the idea that markets are morally neutral.
"To understand the importance of his purpose," a Guardian reviewer wrote of the book, "you first have to grasp the full extent of the triumph achieved by market thinking in economics, and the extent to which that thinking has spread to other domains. This school sees economics as a discipline that has nothing to do with morality, and is instead the study of incentives, considered in an ethical vacuum. Sandel's book is, in its calm way, an all-out assault on that idea, and on the influential doctrine that the economic approach to "utility maximisation" explains all human behaviour."
Read more about his thinking on markets and morality: "Lunch with Michael Sandel" on FT.com >>
“A better way to mutual respect is to engage directly with the moral convictions citizens bring to public life, rather than to require that people leave their deepest moral convictions outside politics before they enter.”
“There is a tendency to think that if we engage too directly with moral questions in politics, that’s a recipe for disagreement, and for that matter, a recipe for intolerance and coercion.”