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Tag Archives: Harvard

Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 12: “DEBATING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE”


So, this is the last of an amazing course!
I really hope you got stimulated and took out the best from it.
I already got very positive response from the first five lectures I posted.
I’d love to hear from you for the last few. 🙂

ploaded by Harvard on Sep 9, 2009
PART ONE: DEBATING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
If principles of justice depend on the moral or intrinsic worth of the ends that rights serve, how should we deal with the fact that people hold different ideas and conceptions of what is good? Students address this question in a heated debate about same-sex marriage. Should same-sex marriage be legal? Can we settle the matter without discussing the moral permissibility of homosexuality or the purpose of marriage?

PART TWO: THE GOOD LIFE

Professor Sandel raises two questions. Is it necessary to reason about the good life in order to decide what rights people have and what is just? If so, how is it possible to argue about the nature of the good life? Students explore these questions with a discussion about the relation of law and morality, as played out in public controversies over same-sex marriage and abortion. Michael Sandel concludes his lecture series by making the point that, in many cases, the law cant be neutral on hard moral questions. Engaging rather than avoiding the moral convictions of our fellow citizens may be the best way of seeking a just society.
Category:
Education
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Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 11: “THE CLAIMS OF COMMUNITY”


Uploaded by Harvard on Sep 8, 2009
PART ONE: THE CLAIMS OF COMMUNITY
Professor Sandel presents Kants objections to Aristotles theory. Kant believes politics must respect individual freedom. People must always respect other peoples freedom to make their own choices—a universal duty to humanity—but for Kant, there is no other source of moral obligation. The discussion of Kants view leads to an introduction to the communitarian philosophy. Communitarians argue that, in addition to voluntary and universal duties, we also have obligations of membership, solidarity, and loyalty. These obligations are not necessarily based on consent. We inherit our past, and our identities, from our family, city, or country. But what happens if our obligations to our family or community come into conflict with our universal obligations to humanity?

PART TWO: WHERE OUR LOYALTY LIES

Professor Sandel leads a discussion about the arguments for and against obligations of solidarity and membership. Do we owe more to our fellow citizens that to citizens of other countries? Is patriotism a virtue, or a prejudice for ones own kind? If our identities are defined by the particular communities we inhabit, what becomes of universal human rights? Using various scenarios, students debate whether or not obligations of loyalty can ever outweigh universal duties of justice.
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News & Politics
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Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 09: “ARGUING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION”


ploaded by Harvard on Sep 4, 2009
PART ONE: ARGUING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
PART TWO: WHAT’S THE PURPOSE?
Part 1
Sandel describes the 1996 court case of a white woman named Cheryl Hopwood who was denied admission to a Texas law school, even though she had higher grades and test scores than some of the minority applicants who were admitted. Hopwood took her case to court, arguing the schools affirmative action program violated her rights. Students discuss the pros and cons of affirmative action. Should we try to correct for inequality in educational backgrounds by taking race into consideration? Should we compensate for historical injustices such as slavery and segregation? Is the argument in favor of promoting diversity a valid one? How does it size up against the argument that a students efforts and achievements should carry more weight than factors that are out of his or her control and therefore arbitrary? When a universitys stated mission is to increase diversity, is it a violation of rights to deny a white person admission?

PART TWO: WHATS THE PURPOSE?

Sandel introduces Aristotle and his theory of justice. Aristotle disagrees with Rawls and Kant. He believes that justice is about giving people their due, what they deserve. When considering matters of distribution, Aristotle argues one must consider the goal, the end, the purpose of what is being distributed. The best flutes, for example, should go to the best flute players. And the highest political offices should go to those with the best judgment and the greatest civic virtue. For Aristotle, justice is a matter of fitting a persons virtues with an appropriate role.
Category:
Education
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Justice: What’s the right thing to do? Episode 08: ” What’s a fair start? “


ploaded by Harvard on Sep 8, 2009
ART ONE: WHATS A FAIR START?
Is it just to tax the rich to help the poor? John Rawls says we should answer this question by asking what principles you would choose to govern the distribution of income and wealth if you did not know who you were, whether you grew up in privilege or in poverty. Wouldnt you want an equal distribution of wealth, or one that maximally benefits whomever happens to be the least advantaged? After all, that might be you. Rawls argues that even meritocracy—a distributive system that rewards effort—doesnt go far enough in leveling the playing field because those who are naturally gifted will always get ahead. Furthermore, says Rawls, the naturally gifted cant claim much credit because their success often depends on factors as arbitrary as birth order. Sandel makes Rawlss point when he asks the students who were first born in their family to raise their hands.

PART TWO: WHAT DO WE DESERVE?

Professor Sandel recaps how income, wealth, and opportunities in life should be distributed, according to the three different theories raised so far in class. He summarizes libertarianism, the meritocratic system, and John Rawlss egalitarian theory. Sandel then launches a discussion of the fairness of pay differentials in modern society. He compares the salary of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor ($200,000) with the salary of televisions Judge Judy ($25 million). Sandel asks, is this fair? According to John Rawls, it is not. Rawls argues that an individuals personal success is often a function of morally arbitrary facts—luck, genes, and family circumstances—for which he or she can claim no credit. Those at the bottom are no less worthy simply because they werent born with the talents a particular society rewards, Rawls argues, and the only just way to deal with societys inequalities is for the naturally advantaged to share their wealth with those less fortunate.
Category:
Education
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Standard YouTube License

Justice: What’s the right thing to do? Episode 07: ” A lesson in lying “


Uploaded by Harvard on Sep 4, 2009
PART ONE: A LESSON IN LYING
Immanuel Kants stringent theory of morality allows for no exceptions. Kant believed that telling a lie, even a white lie, is a violation of ones own dignity. Professor Sandel asks students to test Kants theory with this hypothetical case: if your friend were hiding inside your home, and a person intent on killing your friend came to your door and asked you where he was, would it be wrong to tell a lie? If so, would it be moral to try to mislead the murderer without actually lying? This leads to a discussion of the morality of misleading truths. Sandel wraps up the lecture with a video clip of one of the most famous, recent examples of dodging the truth: President Clinton talking about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

PART TWO: A DEAL IS A DEAL

Sandel introduces the modern philosopher John Rawls and his theory of a hypothetical social contract. Rawls argues that principles of justice are the outcome of a special kind of agreement. They are the principles we would all agree to if we had to choose rules for our society and no one had any unfair bargaining power. According to Rawls, the only way to ensure that no one has more power than anyone else is to imagine a scenario where no one knows his or her age, sex, race, intelligence, strength, social position, family wealth, religion, or even his or her goals in life. Rawls calls this hypothetical situation a veil of ignorance. What principles would we agree to behind this veil of ignorance? And would these principles be fair? Professor Sandel explains the idea of a fair agreement with some humorous examples of actual contracts that produce unfair results.
Category:
Education
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Standard YouTube License
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Harvard: justice what’s the right thing to do 04 ( Michael Sandel )


I’ll give you today the first five lectures and will go on another time.
Enjoy!

Uploaded by Harvard on Sep 8, 2009
PART ONE: THIS LAND IS MY LAND
The philosopher John Locke believes that individuals have certain rights so fundamental that no government can ever take them away. These rights—to life, liberty and property—were given to us as human beings in the the state of nature, a time before government and laws were created. According to Locke, our natural rights are governed by the law of nature, known by reason, which says that we can neither give them up nor take them away from anyone else. Sandel wraps up the lecture by raising a question: what happens to our natural rights once we enter society and consent to a system of laws?

PART TWO: CONSENTING ADULTS

If we all have unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property, how can a government enforce tax laws passed by the representatives of a mere majority? Doesnt that amount to taking some peoples property without their consent? Lockes response is that we give our tacit consent to obey the tax laws passed by a majority when we choose to live in a society. Therefore, taxation is legitimate and compatible with individual rights, as long as it applies to everyone and does not arbitrarily single anyone out.
Category:
Education
License:
Standard YouTube License
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Harvard: Justice what’s the right thing to do 02


Harvard: Justice what’s the right thing to do 02 ( Michael Sandel )

Uploaded by Harvard on Sep 8, 2009
PART ONE: PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON LIFE

Today, companies and governments often use Jeremy Benthams utilitarian logic under the name of cost-benefit analysis. Sandel presents some contemporary cases in which cost-benefit analysis was used to put a dollar value on human life. The cases give rise to several objections to the utilitarian logic of seeking the greatest good for the greatest number. Should we always give more weight to the happiness of a majority, even if the majority is cruel or ignoble? Is it possible to sum up and compare all values using a common measure like money?

PART TWO: HOW TO MEASURE PLEASURE

Sandel introduces J.S. Mill, a utilitarian philosopher who attempts to defend utilitarianism against the objections raised by critics of the doctrine. Mill argues that seeking the greatest good for the greatest number is compatible with protecting individual rights, and that utilitarianism can make room for a distinction between higher and lower pleasures. Mills idea is that the higher pleasure is always the pleasure preferred by a well-informed majority. Sandel tests this theory by playing video clips from three very different forms of entertainment: Shakespeares Hamlet, the reality show Fear Factor, and The Simpsons. Students debate which experience provides the higher pleasure, and whether Mills defense of utilitarianism is successful.
Category:
Education
License:
Standard YouTube License

Harvard: Justice what’s the right thing to do 01


Harvard: Justice what’s the right thing to do 01

Uploaded by Harvard on Sep 4, 2009
PART ONE: THE MORAL SIDE OF MURDER
If you had to choose between (1) killing one person to save the lives of five others and (2) doing nothing even though you knew that five people would die right before your eyes if you did nothing—what would you do? What would be the right thing to do? Thats the hypothetical scenario Professor Michael Sandel uses to launch his course on moral reasoning. After the majority of students votes for killing the one person in order to save the lives of five others, Sandel presents three similar moral conundrums—each one artfully designed to make the decision more difficult. As students stand up to defend their conflicting choices, it becomes clear that the assumptions behind our moral reasoning are often contradictory, and the question of what is right and what is wrong is not always black and white.

PART TWO: THE CASE FOR CANNIBALISM

Sandel introduces the principles of utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, with a famous nineteenth century legal case involving a shipwrecked crew of four. After nineteen days lost at sea, the captain decides to kill the weakest amongst them, the young cabin boy, so that the rest can feed on his blood and body to survive. The case sets up a classroom debate about the moral validity of utilitarianism—and its doctrine that the right thing to do is whatever produces “the greatest good for the greatest number.”
Category:
Education
License:
Standard YouTube License

An Introduction to Michael Sandel’s ” Justice ” course ( Harvard )


I spoke in my ” About ” how I was a big fan of Michael Sandel. It might even be an understatement!
I started looking on ” You tube ” at his course which I accidentally fell upon when he was on the front page.
In the beginning I took it as a challenge, but I was quickly hooked on it!
I never thought philosophy could be so fascinating, so intricately deep, so moral and so addictive 🙂
He is a genius in allowing the subject to be easy to understand and make sense.
When the course finished, I felt like an orphan.
What was I thinking? That the course would be going on forever?
I’ll post this introduction and will go on posting the whole course for the lovers of philosophy and whoever is not, this blog has enough material for all.
Enjoy it and let me know your impression.

Uploaded by MacmillanUSA on Jul 13, 2009
Professor Michael J. Sandel previews his series and book “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?”, taken from his popular course at Harvard University.

http://us.macmillan.com/justice-2
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Entertainment
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