Liberalism and the Limits of Justice


Sandel Michael J. 1982. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. ( 2nd Edition 1998) . Cambridge University Press.
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice


“His is a new and authentic philosophical voice…. Michael Sandel’s elegantly argued book…describes what I take to be the reality of moral experience.” – Michael Walzer, The New Republic

“Sandel’s Liberalism and the Limits of Justice is a gracefully—even beautifully—written book that I would imagine is destined to be something of a classic on the subject.” – Chilton Williamson, Jr., National Review

“Sandel’s book is exemplary.  It is passionate and unrelenting, and yet meticulous and scrupulous in its argumentation…. [A]lways fair to its target, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice develops the best and most constructive interpretations with which to disagree…. It is the great virtue of this book, of its justness and generosity of spirit, that…one can come away from this book moved to deepen and improve the vision he criticizes.” – Charles Fried, Harvard Law Review 

“This brilliantly written critique of Rawls…can be read as an important contribution toward the reconstruction of liberal political theory.” – Steven M. DeLue, American Political Science Review 

“Sandel’s remarkable work forces us to take seriously the question: what kind of subjects must we be for our talk of justice and rights to make sense? He uncovers the strains and contractions in much contemporary liberalism. This is political philosophy on the level it should be written, confronting our moral beliefs with our best understanding of human nature.” – Charles Taylor, McGill University

“A genuinely important and philosophical book…written with style and precision…. Sandel’s account of friendship and self-knowledge is luminous.” – Ronald Beiner, Times Higher Education Supplement

“[S]ometimes soaring to exhilarating eloquence and flashes of insight…Liberalism and the Limits of Justice offers fresh and plausible readings of what politics is and might be.” – Stephen Whitfield, Worldview 

“Sandel [goes to] the heart of the epistemological confusions inherent in modern philosophical liberalism…. The real consequence of Sandel’s argument is…to reassert [the] fundamental lesson…that at the heart of all philosophy is political philosophy. – Mark Lilla, The Public Interest

“Sandel’s outstanding book is a significant and fascinating contribution…. Sandel’s point about the liberal conception of the self is exciting and significant in several ways.” – Richard Fentiman, Cambridge Law Journal

“Sandel offers an extended, very penetrating critique of what he calls the ‘deep individualism’ embedded in the premises of Rawlsian theory—and, more generally, in the foundations of liberal political theories which are influenced by Kantian moral philosophy.  This is fresh work of major importance to the ongoing discussion of justice and individualism….” – Norman Care, Noûs

“This clear and forceful book provides very elegant and cogent arguments against the attempt to use a certain conception of the self, a certain metaphysical view of what human beings are like, to legitimate liberal politics.” – Richard Rorty, in “The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy,” in Rorty, Objectivism, Relativism, and Truth 

“[John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice] is widely viewed as the most important work of political philosophy to be written in our time.  It certainly has been the most widely discussed.  Of all the commentary it has spawned, none has been more important than the critique offered by Michael Sandel in a book published in 1982 called Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, which succeeded in calling into question some of Rawls’s more fundamental premises.” – R. Bruce Douglass, Commonwealth 

“Sandel’s work builds very strongly on A Theory of Justice by John Rawls, taking its place as the next voice in the running conversation of political theory…. Where critiques are often used by their author as a means to build their own name up by tearing down someone else’s name, Sandel’s is such a careful study that it ends up enhancing the stature of the work it builds upon.” – Chistopher Budd, The Philosophers’ Magazine

“Even though Sandel is critical of Rawls, he is scrupulously fair and respectful…. One cannot read Liberalism and the Limits of Justice without acquiring a deeper and clearer understanding of Rawls’ theory…. Sandel’s impressive work…illuminates not only Rawls’ theory but also the nature of moral argument…. It is an outstanding achievement.” – William Powers, Texas Law Review

Last updated on 08/16/2016