Ideas of Michael J. Sandel, by Theme

[American, b.1953, Taught at Oxford University, and then Harvard University.]

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3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 3. Value of Truth
Speak truth only to those who deserve the truth
Careful evasions of truth at least show respect for it
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
Not all deals are fair deals
Does consent create the obligation, or must there be some benefit?
Moral contracts involve both consent and reciprocity; making the deal, and keeping it
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 2. Golden Rule
The categorical imperative is not the Golden Rule, which concerns contingent desires
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty
Kant's moral law has no foundation - because that would undermine its priority
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 5. Persons as Ends
Man cannot dispose of himself, because he is not a thing to be owned
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 4. Original Position / a. Original position
Choosers in the 'original position' have been stripped of most human characteristics [Tuckness/Wolf]
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Social contract
Just visiting (and using roads) is hardly ratifying the Constitution
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 3. Constitutions
A ratified constitution may not be a just constitution
A just constitution harmonises the different freedoms
24. Political Theory / C. Ruling a State / 4. Changing the State / c. Revolution
Passion for progress is always short-lived
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 3. Conservatism
Conservatives are either individualistic, or communal
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / d. Representative democracy
Modern liberal rights in democracies protect individuals against the majority
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / a. Liberalism basics
Liberals say rights always come first, and justice is neutral on social values
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / b. Liberal individualism
The self is 'unencumbered' if it can abandon its roles and commitments without losing identity [Shorten]
Liberal justice means the withdrawal of the self, as transcendental or as unencumbered
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / d. Liberal freedom
Liberal freedom was a response to assigned destinies like caste and class
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 7. Communitarianism / a. Communitarianism
Liberalism concerns rights, and communitarianism concerns the common good [Avineri/De-Shalit]
Modern liberalism fails to articulate a vision of the common good
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 7. Communitarianism / b. Against communitarianism
I can't defend the view that the majority values of a community are thereby right
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 3. Free speech
In the liberal view an insult to my group doesn't hurt me, since I'm defined by choices not groups
If persons define themselves by a group membership, insults to that group are a real harm
25. Social Practice / B. Equalities / 4. Economic equality
Libertarians just want formal equality in a free market; the meritocratic view wants fair equality
25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 1. Basis of justice
Distributive justice concern deserts, as well as who gets what
We can approach justice through welfare, or freedom, or virtue
Justice concerns how a society distributes what it prizes - wealth, rights, power and honours
Should we redress wrongs done by a previous generation?
Work is not fair if it is negotiated, even in a fair situation, but if it suits the nature of the worker
Justice is about how we value things, and not just about distributions
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 2. Religion in Society
The case for religious liberty depends on the religion contributing to a morally good life
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / b. Limited purposes
Teleological thinking is essential for social and political issues