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Justice and the Moral Limits of Markets

STICERD public lecture

Date: Monday 12 October 2009
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Michael J. Sandel
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand

The financial crisis raises hard questions about justice, ethics, and the role of markets. In this lecture, Michael Sandel will examine the moral limits of markets, one of the themes of his new book, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. He is the author of Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics, and The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering. His undergraduate course, "Justice," has enrolled over 14,000 students. A recipient of the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, Sandel was named a Harvard College Professor in 1999, and in 2008 was recognized by the American Political Science Association for a career of excellence in teaching. He has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne (Paris), and delivered the BBC Reith Lectures earlier this year.

From 2002 to 2005, Sandel served on the President's Council on Bioethics. Sandel is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. 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.

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