Justice Book Summary - Justice Book explained in key points

Justice summary

Michael J. Sandel

What's the Right Thing to Do?

4.3 (36 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Justice by Michael J. Sandel examines the concept of justice and ethical reasoning through major contemporary issues, encouraging readers to question their beliefs and values.

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    Our understanding of justice is subjective and changing constantly.

    Justice is both one of the most frequently debated and most difficult topics to grasp in philosophy, because our understanding of it is subjective, changing constantly over the course of history.

    Is it right to sacrifice one person’s life to prevent the death of many others? Is it fair to tax rich people to help the poor? Is abortion a human right – or murder?

    The answers to these questions differ depending on the individual. Everyone views them from a unique perspective that’s made up of different norms, values, experiences, and unfortunately also prejudices and resentments, all of which play a crucial role in determining our judgments.

    Moreover, the history of philosophy shows us that the answers to questions of justice are always bound to the era in which they were asked.

    In ancient theories such as Aristotle’s, justice was closely linked to virtue and the “good life”: a society is only just when it fosters and rewards the virtues of its citizens. So before we ask what is just, we have to know what constitutes a good life.

    According to a more modern philosophy like Utilitarianism, justice always revolves around general well-being: justice is what increases the sense of happiness among the majority.

    Other modern theories like the Libertarian philosophy see the most important part of a just society as the guarantee of freedom to every individual to live their lives according to their own rules.

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    What is Justice about?

    What is justice? How can we act in a just and morally correct way? Drawing on various examples from everyday life, Michael J. Sandel illustrates how differently the idea of justice can be interpreted, for example, by philosophers like Aristotle and Kant. Over the course of Justice (2009), he urges us to critically question our own convictions and societal conventions.

    Justice Review

    Justice (2009) by Michael J. Sandel is a thought-provoking exploration of the concept of justice and its application to contemporary moral and political issues. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It challenges conventional wisdom and raises difficult questions about justice, allowing readers to engage in critical thinking and broaden their perspective.
    • Sandel explores a wide range of real-world examples, from controversial court cases to ethical dilemmas, making the book highly relatable and relevant.
    • By examining different philosophical theories and perspectives, Justice offers a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the complexities of ethics and morality.

    Who should read Justice?

    • Anyone interested in ethics and philosophy
    • Anyone who wants to find out more about the concept of justice
    • Anyone looking for philosophical answers to questions in life

    About the Author

    Michael J. Sandel (b. 1953) is an American philosopher. He studied at Oxford and has been teaching political philosophy at Harvard for three decades. His lectures on justice have become so popular that tickets for seats in his lecture hall have to be raffled off. In 2009 his lectures were documented for American television and can now be viewed online at www.justiceharvard.org.

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    Justice FAQs 

    What is the main message of Justice?

    Justice explores the concepts of fairness and morality in society, challenging us to think about what it means to live a just life.

    How long does it take to read Justice?

    The reading time for Justice varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Justice a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Justice is a thought-provoking book that delves into fundamental ethical questions. It's definitely worth a read for those interested in moral philosophy.

    Who is the author of Justice?

    The author of Justice is Michael J. Sandel.

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