UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies welcomed political philosopher and Harvard professor Michael Sandel for the most recent conversation in the Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society. The sold-out event on March 8, 2023, was held at the Hojel Auditorium on the university’s La Jolla campus, and included a lecture, discussion, and book signing
Sandel is an internationally acclaimed philosopher, teacher, author, and speaker. He writes on topics of justice, ethics, democracy, and markets in his books including Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? and What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. His course “Justice” is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television and has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world. His speaking engagements across the globe attract thousands of attendees, including an outdoor stadium in Seoul, South Korea, where 14,000 people came to hear him speak. Taking the field of philosophy beyond the walls of the classroom, Sandel has led and facilitated philosophical discussions and debates on radio and television in Britain, Brazil, and Japan.
To kick off the event at UC San Diego, Sandel signed copies of his most recent book The Tyranny of Merit: Can We Find the Common Good? A review of the book on Harvard’s Book Store poses, “The world-famous political philosopher and the bestselling author of Justice reveals the driving force behind the resurgence of populism: the tyranny of the meritocracy and the resentments it produces.” It goes on to say, “In The Tyranny of Merit, a searing critique of contemporary public discourse, Michael J. Sandel, ‘the world’s most relevant living philosopher’ (Newsweek), diagnoses our political moment by seeking out its moral underpinnings. He highlights the hubris a meritocracy fosters among the winners and the indignities it inflicts on those left behind. And he offers an alternative way of thinking about success—more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility, and more hospitable to a politics of the common good.”
Sandel’s visit was hosted by UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies and was made possible through the Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society. Through its endowment, the Burke Lectureship sponsors public lectures in which scholars, theologians, and religious practitioners address critical issues on the relationship between religion and society and on the religious dimensions of being human. The series honors the memory of Eugene M. Burke CSP, a Paulist priest, distinguished teacher, theologian, scholar, church historian, and ecumenist who was closely associated with UC San Diego as a member of the Paulist ministry to students and as a member of the UC San Diego Catholic Community. Upon his 45th anniversary as a Paulist, some of Father Burke’s friends came together to create a lectureship in his honor.
Since its inception in 1985, the Burke Lectureship has hosted more than 70 lectures at UC San Diego covering topics including immigration, community, gender, racial issues, and more. Sandel’s lecture and other past discussions can be viewed online.
For upcoming cultural and educational events hosted by UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies, visit the division’s website.