Friday, November 20, 2009

This Seeming Brow of Justice

By Samuel Moyn

Michael Sandel teaching "Justice" JUSTIN IDE/HARVARD NEWS OFFICE JUSTIN IDE/HARVARD NEWS OFFICE

Every fall they pack Sanders Theatre to the rafters. A spellbinding philosopher takes the stage before a rapt crowd of Harvard students, and soon enough the cavernous space becomes a classroom where the bright shades of Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant and John Rawls are summoned to have their say on the enduring questions. What is the good life? Is pleasure the highest end, or is something else? Are acts moral because they lead to good consequences, or because they are done on principle? To keep the discussion grounded, the class--called simply "Justice," it now regularly enrolls more than 1,000 undergraduates--is asked to confront these quandaries in the context of hard cases brought to life by the philosopher's trademark hypothetical situations or policy dilemmas culled from newspaper articles.

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This is a nice read for a Sunday morning. Tom

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