Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do?
PART ONE: DEBATING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
If principles of justice depend
on the moral or intrinsic worth of the ends that rights serve, how
should we deal with the fact that people hold different ideas and
conceptions of what is good? Students address this question in a heated
debate about same-sex marriage. Should same-sex marriage be legal? Can
we settle the matter without discussing the moral permissibility of
homosexuality or the purpose of marriage?
PART TWO: THE GOOD LIFE
Professor Sandel raises two
questions. Is it necessary to reason about the good life in order to
decide what rights people have and what is just? If so, how is it
possible to argue about the nature of the good life? Students explore
these questions with a discussion about the relation of law and
morality, as played out in public controversies over same-sex marriage
and abortion. Michael Sandel concludes his lecture series by making the
point that, in many cases, the law cant be neutral on hard moral
questions. Engaging rather than avoiding the moral convictions of our
fellow citizens may be the best way of seeking a just society.