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Who's in the Video
Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. He is the author of[…]

Can we have meaningful say in the world around us?

Question: What is your question?

Michael Sandel: Well here, I suppose, is a question that is . . . that is worth asking . . . worth all of us asking ourselves as citizens in the world as we find it today. And that is, “Does the good life . . . can the good life simply be one that takes place in private life alone – in our own individual lives and those of our families? Or in order to lead a good, and fulfilling, and satisfying life, do we need to cultivate a care for the world, and to try to figure out how to have a hand . . . how to have meaningful say in trying to shape the whole of the common good, or the direction of things beyond our own corner of the world?” I think that is an open question. My own hunch is that the answer to the question – which won’t surprise you – is the second. That the care of the world, and the participation, and the care of the public life larger than ourselves, is an important part of the good life. But you know philosophers for a very long time have disagreed about this and debated about it. So I really take it to be an open question, but an inviting question for . . . that’s . . . but an inviting question that is really very much relevant to the lives we live and the world that we face today.

Recorded on: 6/12/07