What’s the Right Thing to Do?

November 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

Last night I went to a lecture by Michael Sandel. He is a political philosopher and a Harvard professor who just came out with a new book, Justice.  Sandel’s class, also called Justice is one of the most highly attended courses in Harvards history and I think I know why.

Aside from his entertaining and enthusiastic approach, the man is quite brilliant.  His lessons are discussion based and allow for a wide variety of audience interaction. The lessons ask the students, for example, to put themselves in a speeding trolley car with no breaks. Ahead of them are 5 men working on the trolley rail, all of which will be killed upon impact. The steering wheel works and they can go down another rail that will only hit one man. Which do they choose? The greatest outcome for the greatest number of people? And why? He then ties the audiences’ answers to the philosophical theories that support their choices.

The topics Sandel chooses to speak about are compelling, prevalent to today’s society, and very approachable. I plan on getting the book, it should be a good read.


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