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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

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?


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.
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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.
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