Book Review: Justice – What’s the right thing to do. (2009)

I have delayed this long enough. I hereby expound on what I have read from (Michael J) Sandel’s book.

It has been worth the time to read it. Principally, it contains a chapter on John Rawls (A Theory of Justice), arguably one of the major thinkers post 1945. I gave up earlier on a more detailed text that interpreted Rawls. In contrast, the style here was very readable. Moreover, near the end of the chapters, there were questions challenging the ideas of the particular philosopher. To elaborate, there were 3 questions for (Immanuel) Kant, and 2 for Rawls for instance. Nonetheless, in spite of reading the opening chapter a few times, I was unable to find the exact definition for ‘justice’. It was murky and multifaceted. Perhaps that is just the way the word remains.

John Rawls, as I researched earlier, was a private personality (perhaps even intensely so). I do not know whether that makes his work more valuable, since he did not work so much for fame and fortune. Both his brothers also died before him. One was infected by his illness. Hence, he was the only one left. Plausibly, this influenced him to equal out the arbitrariness and inequality within life. Theoretically, Rawls suggests a state where all of us stands behind ‘a veil of ignorance’. From there, we choose what kind of society we want to be in. Rational freedom is by and large exercised, resulting in a fairer society. Practically, Sandel (p. 152) puts forth inequality that is acceptable in such a society. It is one with progressive taxation, where the top earners provide tax revenue to aid the downtrodden. Likewise, pay differential for professionals like doctors that lead to medical care extended to all segments of society (and not merely for the rich or specialists in plastic surgery). The result – a society that cares for all. This is crucial since, one may become unemployed or (being born or) become disabled. Yes, life can be such a game.

And so I end. I hope I have done Rawls justice…


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