Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Justice at Harvard


What's the right thing to do? Harvard professor Michael Sandel has been teaching a moral philosophy course at Harvard for almost 30 years, with 1,000 students at a time often taking his popular class. This class is now online and is also airing on many PBS stations for 12 weeks this fall. Taped in Harvard's Sanders Theater, using several cameras to include the student discussions that are central to Sandel's classes, the course explores questions about justice and the good life, as well as many difficult contemporary ethical issues.

Each hour-long segment includes two 30-minute classes. I think the classes would be helpful resources for talking about these questions with middle and high school students. Topics include "The Moral Side of Murder," "How to Measure Pleasure," "For Sale: Motherhood," and "A Lesson in Lying." The website devoted to the course offers episode summaries and discussion guides, as well as related readings for some of the episodes: http://justiceharvard.org/

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