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Morality as taught in the IVY LEAGUE - FOR REAL

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 12:27 AM

Professor Sandel threw the group a curve ball by relating the strongest argument in favor of differing admission standards for the purpose, not of justice for past wrongs, but for the plain purpose of diversity and that 'end' as a compelling reason justifying the decision in Bakke, among others. The twist was categorize modern political philosophy with the intuitive albeit 'childish' concept of justice illustrated most succinctly by a Winnie the Pooh episode involving buzzing, bees and that hunny in the tree that was made just for 'me'.

In this next episode, which I'll be watching momentarily, he explores the classic philosophy of Aristotle's view of justice.

Aristotle believes the purpose of politics is to promote and cultivate the virtue of its citizens. The telos or goal of the state and political community is the good life. And those citizens who contribute most to the purpose of the community are the ones who should be most rewarded. But how do we know the purpose of a community or a practice? Aristotles theory of justice leads to a contemporary debate about golf. Sandel describes the case of Casey Martin, a disabled golfer, who sued the PGA after it declined his request to use a golf cart on the PGA Tour. The case leads to a debate about the purpose of golf and whether a players ability to walk the course is essential to the game.


How does Aristotle address the issue of individual rights and the freedom to choose? If our place in society is determined by where we best fit, doesnt that eliminate personal choice? What if I am best suited to do one kind of work, but I want to do another? In this lecture, Sandel addresses one of the most glaring objections to Aristotles views on freedom—his defense of slavery as a fitting social role for certain human beings. Students discuss other objections to Aristotles theories and debate whether his philosophy overly restricts the freedom of individuals.

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