Michael Sandel receives honorary doctorate
Michael Sandel receives honorary doctorate

'Rock star philosopher' Michael Sandel receives honorary doctorate from Radboud University

Michael Sandel, a political philosopher at Harvard University, received an honorary doctorate from Radboud University on 9 May during its 100th anniversary celebration. With his written works and lectures on topics such as the ethics of technology, the meaning of success and the role of morality and civic values in political life, he reached an audience of millions.

After receiving his honorary doctorate, Sandel gave a lecture on who should rule in times of populist protests against authority and the elite. Among other issues, he will address whether classically trained academics are more suited to govern than citizens with a different academic background. After his lecture, he engaged in conversation with the audience and Radboud scholars Carolien van Ham, Vivienne Matthies-Boon and Christoph Lüthy.

Philosopher Michael Sandel lecture 'Who Merits to Govern Us?'

'Rock star philosopher'

Michael Sandel is one of the most famous philosophers of our time. He is a vehement defender of morality and civic virtues in political life and his academic writings on justice, democracy, bioethics and the moral limits of markets have been translated into more than 30 languages. He has also reached millions of viewers and listeners through online and public lectures, his BBC Radio 4 series and his television appearances, earning him the title of the ‘rock star philosopher’.

Uitreiking eredoctoraat Michael Sandel

Sandel uses philosophy to promote public debate about current issues, such as: Should the rich bear the cost of climate change? Are there limits to free speech? What has the pandemic taught us about the contribution of unskilled, low-paid work to the common good?

According to Sandel, increased inequality and polarisation are reflective of the way we think about success and failure. This 'success ethic' makes people at the top believe they have earned their place, while those at the bottom of the social ladder are held responsible for their own failures. Sandel calls for changing the way we think about success.

Seven honary doctorates

To mark the university’s centenary anniversary in 2023, each of the seven faculties will have the opportunity to issue their own honorary doctorate. The Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies kicked things off on 9 May by awarding an honorary doctorate to Michael Sandel. The six other honorary doctorates will be awarded during the annual Dies Natalis celebration on 17 October 2023.

Binnenkomst Michael Sandel

Contact information

Organizational unit
Strategic Relationships