Have you ever been in a dilemma? or have you regretted a past decision? Do you think justice can be delivered in each and every situation? We all come across such questions many times in our lives, and we debate, introspect about what’s right & what’s wrong? “Justice-what’s the right thing to do?” is a book written by Michael Sandel on this topic specially focusing on morals.
Michael Sandel is an American Philosopher and a professor in Harvard Law School. He has authored many books like –
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He has also designed a Course by the same name, which has been conducted in Harvard Law School.
Justice was the university’s first course to be made freely available online and on television. It has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world.
He uses stories, examples, known cases, personal opinions, discussions & introduces us to many controversial topics such as euthanasia, democracy, equal rights, abortions, free market, affirmative action, same sex marriages and more such topics.
To give you an example, here are some questions which he asked to his students…
Would it be just to torture the suspect to get the information?
Do you think, that a person with a bad parent owes them less?
Is it alright, to steal a drug that your child needs to survive?
If you didn’t think you’d get caught. Would you pay your taxes??
He makes us think on situations people face, moral decisions we take in our lives. Reasoning behind those moral choices we make everyday.
Are we doing the Right thing…?? that is the question which revolves around always..!! And to answer that he introduces us to well known philosophers of the past.
He explains many theories & analyses them step by step, theories like –
- Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism
- John Stuart Mill’s refinement of Utilitarianism
- Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative
- Aristotle’s concept of ‘telos’
- John Rawl’s works and several other conflicting theories.
This book contains a bit more information.
Suppose you find yourself in a situation in which killing an innocent person is the only way to prevent many innocent people from dying. What will you do in such a situation?
Such question arose in The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens (1884), a famous English case involving four men stranded in a lifeboat without food & water.
How should we judge the action of Dudley and Stephens who killed a person? Was it morally justified to kill that innocent person to save their lives or was it morally wrong? This is the case with which this book starts…
Do you know that, India plays an important role in the surrogacy market. Many foreign citizen come to India to find a surrogate mother. I came to know about it while I was reading about this topic in the book.
There are many interesting discussions & cases like this.
In the book too, the author follows a similar pattern as followed in the course. He discusses various topics & explains various philosophical theories simultaneously as shown in the course.
It’s a thought provoking book. You can’t just read it like a novel.
It is a book for various readers of all ages. Sandel’s method of using real-life case studies helps in clarifying and challenging those ethical principles.
The course is available online on justiceharvard.org & edx.org that too free of cost.
Also, do read this awesome book.
It is recommended not only for an under-graduate student studying Law, philosophy or politics, but also for Law practitioners, Law makers & other law enforcement agencies.
The work is a pleasure to read. Do read it and then tell me in the comments below, your review of the book.