Public Lecture and Discussion with Harvard Professor Michael J. Sandel at Freie Universitšt Berlin

Moral philosopher will present and discuss his latest theories on "Democracy's Discontent" at Freie Universitšt Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS

Michael J. Sandel, moral philosopher and professor at Harvard University, will present the new, updated version of his much talked-about book Democracy’s Discontent as part of a public lecture with follow-up discussion on June 5, 2023. Sandel is considered one of the world’s most influential voices in debates surrounding neoliberalism and globalization; his book is an established classic among philosophical texts and known for its critique of capitalism. The public lecture is being presented by the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)" and S. Fischer Verlag. The event will be in English, with anyone interested warmly encouraged to attend. Please register beforehand.

According to Sandel, societies like the United States are currently facing a significant democracy problem, with unprecedented divisions fueled by social media, populism, social inequality, unrest in response to racial violence, and the intensification of individual isolation during the global pandemic. Insufficiently regulated by governments, the financialized global economy creates winners and losers and fuels toxic politics, with devastating consequences for our democracies. This is the image painted by Sandel in his recently updated book, Democracy’s Discontent. In order to reinvigorate democracy, Sandel calls for an alternative to the current neoliberal vision of our global economy, one that empowers citizens as participants in a shared public life.

Michael J. Sandel is a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University. His work combines aspects of political philosophy with the most pressing moral and civic questions of our time. Sandel’s writings on topics such as justice, ethics, democracy, and markets have gained a global readership, with his online lecture series "Justice" reaching tens of millions of viewers. He is one of the world’s most popular and well-known moral philosophers today.

The lecture and follow-up discussion will be moderated by principal investigator at SCRIPTS and philosophy professor at Freie Universitšt Berlin Stefan Gosepath. Professor Gosepath specializes in the link between moral philosophy and political theory. In particular, his research focuses on the role of equality and justice in political contexts and the tension between democracy and moral rights.

The Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)" is a research consortium that analyses the current disputes between liberal democracies and the market economy. Interdisciplinary research teams investigate why the liberal model of order has fallen into crisis despite its political, economic, and social achievements; why alternative concepts of social order are on the rise; and how these contestations differ from earlier ones. SCRIPTS is hosted by Freie Universitšt Berlin and unites eight major Berlin-based research institutions.