Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Justice ~ What's the right thing to do?

Is torture ever justified? Would you steal a drug that your child needs to survive? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? How much is one human life worth? What do you think and why?

"Justice" is one of the most popular courses in Harvard’s history. Now Harvard opens its classroom to the world. Professor Michael Sandel challenges us with difficult moral dilemmas and asks our opinion about the right thing to do. He then asks us to examine our answers in the light of new scenarios. The results are often surprising, revealing that important moral questions are never black and white. This course also addresses the hot topics of our day—affirmative action, same-sex marriage, patriotism and rights. Here are the twelve classes:

Oct 12 ~ The Moral Side of Murder / The Case for Cannibalism ~ 1
Oct 19 ~ Putting a Price Tag on Life / How to Measure Pleasure ~ 2
Oct 26 ~ Free to Choose / Who Owns Me? ~ 3
Nov. 2 ~ This Land is my Land / Consenting Adults ~ 4
Nov 9 ~ Hired Guns? / Motherhood: For Sale ~ 5
Nov 16 ~ Mind Your Motive / The Supreme Principle of Morality ~ 6
Nov 23 ~ A Lesson in Lying / A Deal is a Deal ~ 7
Nov 30 ~ What's a Fair Start? / What Do We Deserve? ~ 8
Dec 7 ~ Arguing Affirmative Action / What's the Purpose? ~ 9
Dec 14 ~ The Good Citizen / Freedom vs. Fit ~ 10
Dec 21 ~ The Claims of Community / Where Our Loyalty Lies ~ 11
Dec 28 ~ Debating Same-sex Marriage / The Good Life ~ 12

Every week, starting Monday, October 12th, I'll ask a question (or two) from each of these topics. You are welcome to watch Harvard's weekly video, do the readings they provide (not all episodes have related readings), and come here to see what's being said. I'll post a link on the sidebar of Bonnie's Books that will bring up ALL questions in this series, and you can answer earlier questions as well as the current one. Here's this week's question: Does morality interest you enough that you'll join us in exploring the ideas?

"Justice" ~ let's think about this stuff together.


June said...

Sounds very interesting...sort of an online game of Scruples! Glad to see ethics being addressed in at least one college...

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I should have said these are MY dates when we'll discuss the questions. Harvard already has the first episode online, so you can start reading now.

June, I love calling this "an online game of Scruples." I don't think ethics classes are rare. I took it at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga back in the 1970s, and I have taught ethics for Tennessee Wesleyan College's extension classes in Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tennessee.

Will you be doing this along with us?

Bonnie Jacobs said...


"Does morality interest you enough that you'll join us in exploring the ideas?"


Yes, I'll say something about most of the questions, for sure, and probably (knowing me) I'll comment about every week's topic.

Gregory Murray said...

I took an ethics class at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. It is a fascinating & supremely important topic. I hope to catch all the episodes. This will be interesting.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Winter MoonWolf, I hope you also plan to comment on those episodes. Glad you are joining us.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Fascinating. I had no idea that these videos were available.