Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do?
PART ONE: THE CLAIMS OF COMMUNITY
Professor Sandel presents Kants
objections to Aristotles theory. Kant believes politics must respect
individual freedom. People must always respect other peoples freedom to
make their own choicesâ€”a universal duty to humanityâ€”but for Kant, there
is no other source of moral obligation. The discussion of Kants 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 that
to citizens of other countries? Is patriotism a virtue, or a prejudice
for ones 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.