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Michael Sandel - small 300

Michael Sandel, who was born in Minneapolis before moving to Los Angeles, is best known for the widely popular Harvard course “Justice.”

Popular American political philosopher Michael Sandel to speak at U of M April 21

Urban legend says Sandel was inspiration for “The Simpsons’” Montgomery Burns character

What: 2011 Guy Stanton Ford Lecture
When: 12:15-1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21
Where: Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis

Contacts: Jeff Falk, University News Service,, (612) 626-1720

March 21, 2011

Michael J. Sandel, the popular American political philosopher and Harvard University professor, will speak on “Morals, Markets and Civic Life after the Financial Crisis” at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, April 21, in Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Do bankers deserve to make hundreds of times what school teachers earn? Is the free market fair? What have we learned from the financial crisis? What is the role of markets in achieving the public good? Sandel, author the New York Times best seller “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?,” will provide a lively discussion of markets, democracy and the big ethical questions that confront American society today. The talk and Q&A will be followed by a book signing.

His talk is the 2011 Guy Stanton Ford Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the university’s Office of the Provost. Ford was president of the University of Minnesota from 1938 to 1941. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Sandel, who was born in Minneapolis before moving to Los Angeles, is best known for the widely popular Harvard course “Justice” and his critique of John Rawls’ “A Theory of Justice” in Sandel’s book “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.” He also served on the George W. Bush administration's President's Council on Bioethics, 2002–2005.

According to a 2009 New York Times article, there is an urban legend that says Sandel was the inspiration for the Montgomery Burns character in “The Simpsons.” The joke, of course, is that Sandel is the anti-Burns, “a moral philosopher who has devoted his life to pondering what is the right thing to do,” as the Times put it.

For a recent video clip of Mandel discussing his thoughts on American society and justice, see

Tags: All administrative: President, Provost, etc.

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"Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?" - video feature