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Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Claims of Community, The; Where Our Loyalty Lies

05/15/2009

EPISODE ELEVEN Lecture Twenty-One Professor Sandel presents Immanuel Kant’s and John Rawl’s objections to Aristotle who believe that individuals should be free and capable of choosing his or her ends. This leads to an introduction to the communitarian view. As individuals, how do we weigh our obligations to family against our obligations to community and to our country? Lecture Twenty-Two Professor Sandel leads a discussion about the arguments for and against our obligations of solidarity and membership in the smaller community of family and the larger community of the society at large. Using various scenarios, students debate whether and when loyalty outweighs duty.


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Series
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do
Program
Claims of Community, The; Where Our Loyalty Lies
Program Number

111

Series Description

This 12 part series invites viewers to think critically about the fundamental questions of justice, equality, democracy and citizenship. Each week, more than 1,000 students attend the lectures of Harvard University professor and author Michael Sandel, eager to expand their understanding of political and moral philosophy, as well as test long-held beliefs. Students learn about the great philosophers of the past — Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Locke — then apply the lessons to complex and sometimes volatile modern-day issues, including affirmative action, same-sex marriage, patriotism, loyalty and human rights. Sandel's teaching approach involves presenting students with an ethical dilemma — some hypothetical, others actual cases — then asking them to decide "what’s the right thing to do?" He encourages students to stand up and defend their decisions, which leads to a lively and often humorous classroom debate. Sandel then twists the ethical question around, to further test the assumptions behind their different moral choices. The process reveals the often contradictory nature of moral reasoning.

Material co-owned by Harvard and WGBH. Need both consent to reuse for any other purpose. Contact Amy Tonkonogy in Educational Productions. Series release date: 9/20/2009

Program Description

PART ONE: THE CLAIMS OF COMMUNITY

Professor Sandel presents Kant’s objections to Aristotle’s theory. Kant believes politics must respect individual freedom. People must always respect other people’s freedom to make their own choices—a universal duty to humanity—but for Kant, there is no other source of moral obligation. The discussion of Kant’s view leads to an introduction to the communitarian philosophy. Communitarians argue that, in addition to voluntary and universal duties, we also have obligations of membership, solidarity, and loyalty. These obligations are not necessarily based on consent. We inherit our past, and our identities, from our family, city, or country. But what happens if our obligations to our family or community come into conflict with our universal obligations to humanity?

PART TWO: WHERE OUR LOYALTY LIES

Professor Sandel leads a discussion about the arguments for and against obligations of solidarity and membership. Do we owe more to our fellow citizens than to citizens of other countries? Is patriotism a virtue, or a prejudice for one’s own kind? If our identities are defined by the particular communities we inhabit, what becomes of universal human rights? Using various scenarios, students debate whether or not obligations of loyalty can ever outweigh universal duties of justice.

Duration

00:56:46

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type

Video

Genres
Educational
Topics
Social Issues
Citation
Chicago: “Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Claims of Community, The; Where Our Loyalty Lies,” 05/15/2009, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 3, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DE97575C6F8444E7BB7C9E13113B2AD9.
MLA: “Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Claims of Community, The; Where Our Loyalty Lies.” 05/15/2009. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 3, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DE97575C6F8444E7BB7C9E13113B2AD9>.
APA: Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Claims of Community, The; Where Our Loyalty Lies. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DE97575C6F8444E7BB7C9E13113B2AD9
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