Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be going through Harvard Professor Michael Sandel’s Ethics and Morality course “Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do”. It’s part of my University of Denver MBA program’s Executive Leadership class, and I’m glad that we’re incorporating so many high quality resources into our overall curriculum.
Sandel address a series of alternative theories of justice. The utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham is outlined and criticised and then John Stuart Mill’s refinements are discussed. The libertarians, in particular Robert Nozick, and their arguments are discussed. Then Sandel discusses Immanuel Kant and his ‘categorical imperative’. The discussion then goes on to John Rawls’s work. Then Aristotle and the concept of ‘telos’ is discussed. It is here that Sandel begins to make clear his own perspective. He argues that justice, rather than being or autonomous (as Kantians or Rawlsians might have it), has a goal. A form of communitarianism. Sandel quotes Alasdair MacIntyre and his characterisation of humans as being ‘storytelling beings’ who live their lives with narrative quests. (From Wikipedia)
One of the excellent characteristics of the course it that the class lecture recordings are available freely online, and compliment the book of the same name. It’s broken up into 12 Episodes: