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"What Money Can't Buy"

Lecture by American Moral Philosopher Michael J. Sandel on October 17 at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 303/2013 from Oct 15, 2013

The renowned American moral philosopher Michael J. Sandel will hold a lecture on Thursday, October 17, at Freie Universität Berlin. The title of the lecture is "What Money Can’t Buy." Sandel, a professor at Harvard University, addresses one of the most important ethical and social issues of our time: How can we prevent the market from dominating fields where it should not be involved? What are its moral limits? How can we preserve the achievements of civilization, which do not interest the market and which you cannot buy for all the money in the world? The event is public, admission is free.

Can a State commit mercenaries to fight wars? Is it morally acceptable to pay people for testing new medical products or donating organs? Do companies have the right to pollute the air, if they pay enough money in compensation? The rules of the market have entered almost all aspects of life, including those areas that should not be determined by supply and demand: medicine, education, politics, law, and justice, art, sports, even family and partnership. Without realizing it, we have transformed ourselves from having a market economy to being a market society. Did something go fundamentally wrong? Sandel discusses these and other issues from a moral philosophical point of view.

Michael J. Sandel was born in 1953 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Brandeis University and received his doctorate from Balliol College, Oxford. He has been teaching at Harvard University since 1980. One of his most important books is Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982).

The presentation is being hosted by the Justitia Amplificata ("Rethinking Justice - Applied and Global") Centre for Advanced Studies, which is based at Goethe-Universität of Frankfurt am Main and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), along with Freie Universität Berlin, Ullstein Buchverlage, and Philosophie-Magazin, a German periodical.

Time and Location

  • Thursday, October 17, 2013, 6:15 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, Lecture Hall 1 a, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Thielplatz or Dahlem-Dorf (U3)
  • The event is public, admission is free.

Further Information