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JUSTICE Michael Sandel.

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Presentation on theme: "JUSTICE Michael Sandel."— Presentation transcript:

1 JUSTICE Michael Sandel

2 The Greatest Happiness Principle
Utilitarianism – The greatest happiness for the greatest number of people Cabin boy Objection#1 – Individual rights Is torture ever justified Objection #2 – A common currency of value (cost-benefit analysis)

3 Do We Own Ourselves? Libertarianism The minimal state
Free market philosophy Taxing Bill Gates to help the poor Do we own ourselves Consensual cannibalism

4 Hired Help Markets and Morals
What’s just – drafting soldiers or hiring them? Objection #1 – Fairness and freedom Objection #2 – Civic virtue and the common good Outsourcing pregnancy Questions: How free are the choices we make in a free market? Are there certain virtues and higher goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?

5 What Matters Is the Motive
Immanuel Kant The Categorical Imperative Emphasis on human dignity – people as ends in themselves Autonomous according to a law we give ourselves – Free will (non-deterministic) What’s moral? Look for the motive – do the right thing for the right reason. Duty vs. inclination I.e. Kant was against casual sex.

6 The Case for Equality John Rawls The moral limits of contracts
Behind a veil of ignorance Not utilitarianism The difference principle – only those social and economic inequalities are permitted that work to the benefit of the least advantaged members of society. Did Gates’s wealth arise as part of system that, taken as a whole, works to the benefit of the least well off? Incentives CEOs and sports starts don’t deserve more money but because a system of progressive taxation helps the disadvantaged

7 Rawls: Share each other’s fate and avail ourselves of the accidents of nature and social circumstance only when doing so is for the common benefit. The most compelling case for more equal society that American political philosophy as yet produced.

8 Arguing Affirmative Action
Correcting for the testing gap Compensating for past wrongs Promoting diversity Do racial preferences violate rights? Racial segregation and anti-jewish quotas Can justice be detached from moral desert? The proper mission of social institutions is contested and fraught …

9 Who Deservers What? Aristotle Justice, Telos and Honor
Justice is teleological – Defining rights requires us to figure out the telos (the purpose, end, or essential nature) of the social practice in question. Justice is honorific – To reason about the purpose of practice, means to reason (argue) about what virtues it should honor and reward. What’s the purpose of university, of politics? Learning by doing – learning by deliberation and discussion Negotiating between two extremes

10 What Do We Owe Each Other
Dilemmas of Loyalty Apologies and reparations Should we atone for the sins of our predecessors? Moral individualism Should government by morally neutral? Justice and freedom The claims of the community Obligations of solidarity, loyalty historic memory, and religious faith – moral claims that arise from the communities and traditions that shape our identity. Storytelling beings We, as moral agents, arrive at our purposes and ends through telling stories

11 Obligations beyond consent
Natural duties we owe to other human beings – to persons as persons. Three categories of moral responsibility: Natural duties: universal, don’t require consent Voluntary obligations: particular, require consent Obligations of solidarity: particular, don’t require consent

12 Solidarity and Belonging
Family obligations French resistance Rescuing Ethiopian Jews Is patriotism a virtue? Border patrols Is it unfair to “Buy American?” Can loyalty override universal moral principles? Robert E. Lee The Bulger brothers and David Kaczynski

13 Justice and the Common Good
Kennedy speech about religion – moral neutrality Rawls – Need for tolerance in the face of disagreements and abide by the limits of liberal public reason. “How would our argument strike us in the form of a Supreme Court opinion?” Obama rejected moral neutrality Abortion issue and stem cell debates and same –sex marriage Morally neutral? Freedom of choice? Depends on definitions of purpose Committed relationship, recognition of the state

14 A politics of the common good
If a just society involves reasoning together about the good life, what kind of discourse would point us in this direction? The challenge is to imagine a politics that takes moral and spiritual questions seriously, but brings them to bear on broad economic and civic concerns …on all issues. A just society requires a strong sense of community, and it must cultivate in citizens a concern for the whole, a dedication to the common good.

15 A politics of moral engagement
Based on mutual respect as human beings Lack of engagement makes for an impoverished public discourse and lessening of mutual respect. “A politics of moral engagement is not only a more inspiring ideal than a politics of avoidance. It is also a more promising basis for a just society.”

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