Thursday, January 21, 2010


I just finished a book that on first glance is not a skeptics book. "Justice What's the Right Thing to Do" by Michael J. Sandel is what every skeptic and every person concerned about justice and morality in our society should read. The author is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. There are many disagreements in our society from homosexual marriage, stem cells, free markets (which Michael Shermer has written on) to abortion and the place of patriotism that we have become more polarized as a society. Right v Left, Conservative v Liberal, Religious fundamentalist v atheist etc, has become the norm. We don't even have any idea where our sense of justice or morality come from let alone know how think through these thorny issues. We just take a side and what ever the pundits say on Fox say we parrot back. Prof. Sandel tackles these questions and more and should give us more to reflect on in our own sense of morality/justice and when we encounter those questions in others it will give us a starting point to try and understand where their side is coming from. He reaches back to the ancient Greeks like Aristotle to the enlightenment thinkers of Immanuel Kant, through John Stuart Mill, to 20th century John Rawls. Historical and current moral dilemmas are looked at in a new light. I endorse this book and it will become part of the recommended reads.
Skeptical DoDo

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