The Reith Lectures About Michael Sandel

Michael Sandel


Professor Michael Sandel is The Anne T and Robert M Bass Professor of Government at Harvard, and has taught political philosophy since 1980.

His work has addressed issues such as democracy, public philosophy and the erosion of community and moral values.

More than 14,000 students have enrolled in his undergraduate course Justice since it began, and it is also the basis of a 12-part public television series to be aired this autumn in the United States.

Prof Sandel has lectured widely across the world. He gave the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Oxford University in 1998, has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne (Paris), and recently deliered a series of seven lectures on political philosophy at major universities in China.

In his most recent book, The Case against Perfection, Prof Sandel argues against the use of genetic engineering to create designer children, and suggests that the genetic revolution will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda. His new book, Justice: What We Owe One Another as Citizens, will be published in the autumn.

He is also the author of Liberalism and the Limits of Justice(Cambridge University Press, 1982, 2nd edition, 1997), Democracy's Discontent (Harvard University Press, 1996), Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics (Harvard University Press, 2005), and The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering (Harvard University Press, 2007). His work been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Polish, and Korean. His writing also appears in publications such as The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times and The New Republic.

The recipient of three honorary degrees, he has received fellowships from the Carnegie Corporation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. A summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University (1975), Sandel received his doctorate from Oxford University (D.Phil.,1981), where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

From 2002-2005, Sandel served on the President's Council on Bioethics, a national body appointed by the president of the United States to advise the president and the public on the ethical implications of new biomedical technologies.

A more unusual claim to fame is that Professor Sandel is believed to be the inspiration for the nuclear power magnate Montgomery Burns in The Simpsons cartoon. The series' creator Matt Groening and his writers included a host of references to Harvard in the television series. As a joke, Professor Sandel, famed for his Justice course, was turned into the cartoon's least just character.

Professor Sandel's latest book Justice will be published in September by Penguin in the UK and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US.

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