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JUSTICE. Michael Sandel. The Greatest Happiness Principle. Utilitarianism – The greatest happiness for the greatest number of people Cabin boy Objection#1 – Individual rights Is torture ever justified Objection #2 – A common currency of value (cost-benefit analysis). Do We Own Ourselves?.

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justice

JUSTICE

Michael Sandel

the greatest happiness principle
The Greatest Happiness Principle
  • Utilitarianism – The greatest happiness for the greatest number of people
    • Cabin boy
    • Objection#1 – Individual rights
      • Is torture ever justified
    • Objection #2 – A common currency of value (cost-benefit analysis)
do we own ourselves
Do We Own Ourselves?
  • Libertarianism
    • The minimal state
    • Free market philosophy
      • Taxing Bill Gates to help the poor
    • Do we own ourselves
      • Consensual cannibalism
hired help
Hired Help
  • Markets and Morals
    • What’s just – drafting soldiers or hiring them?
      • Objection #1 – Fairness and freedom
      • Objection #2 – Civic virtue and the common good
    • Outsourcing pregnancy
    • Questions:
      • How free are the choices we make in a free market?
      • Are there certain virtues and higher goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?
what matters is the motive
What Matters Is the Motive
  • Immanuel Kant
    • The Categorical Imperative
    • Emphasis on human dignity – people as ends in themselves
      • Autonomous according to a law we give ourselves – Free will (non-deterministic)
      • What’s moral? Look for the motive – do the right thing for the right reason.
      • Duty vs. inclination
        • I.e. Kant was against casual sex.
the case for equality
The Case for Equality
  • John Rawls
    • The moral limits of contracts
    • Behind a veil of ignorance
      • Not utilitarianism
      • The difference principle – only those social and economic inequalities are permitted that work to the benefit of the least advantaged members of society.
        • Did Gates’s wealth arise as part of system that, taken as a whole, works to the benefit of the least well off?
        • Incentives
        • CEOs and sports starts don’t deserve more money but because a system of progressive taxation helps the disadvantaged
slide7

Rawls:

    • Share each other’s fate and avail ourselves of the accidents of nature and social circumstance only when doing so is for the common benefit.
    • The most compelling case for more equal society that American political philosophy as yet produced.
arguing affirmative action
Arguing Affirmative Action
  • Correcting for the testing gap
  • Compensating for past wrongs
  • Promoting diversity
  • Do racial preferences violate rights?
    • Racial segregation and anti-jewish quotas
  • Can justice be detached from moral desert?
  • The proper mission of social institutions is contested and fraught …
who deservers what
Who Deservers What?
  • Aristotle
    • Justice, Telos and Honor
    • Justice is teleological – Defining rights requires us to figure out the telos (the purpose, end, or essential nature) of the social practice in question.
    • Justice is honorific – To reason about the purpose of practice, means to reason (argue) about what virtues it should honor and reward.
    • What’s the purpose of university, of politics?
      • Learning by doing – learning by deliberation and discussion
      • Negotiating between two extremes
what do we owe each other
What Do We Owe Each Other
  • Dilemmas of Loyalty
    • Apologies and reparations
    • Should we atone for the sins of our predecessors?
    • Moral individualism
    • Should government by morally neutral?
    • Justice and freedom
    • The claims of the community
      • Obligations of solidarity, loyalty historic memory, and religious faith – moral claims that arise from the communities and traditions that shape our identity.
    • Storytelling beings
      • We, as moral agents, arrive at our purposes and ends through telling stories
slide11

Obligations beyond consent

    • Natural duties we owe to other human beings – to persons as persons.
  • Three categories of moral responsibility:
    • Natural duties: universal, don’t require consent
    • Voluntary obligations: particular, require consent
    • Obligations of solidarity: particular, don’t require consent
slide12

Solidarity and Belonging

    • Family obligations
    • French resistance
    • Rescuing Ethiopian Jews
  • Is patriotism a virtue?
    • Border patrols
    • Is it unfair to “Buy American?”
  • Can loyalty override universal moral principles?
    • Robert E. Lee
    • The Bulger brothers and David Kaczynski
justice and the common good
Justice and the Common Good
  • Kennedy speech about religion – moral neutrality
    • Rawls – Need for tolerance in the face of disagreements and abide by the limits of liberal public reason.
      • “How would our argument strike us in the form of a Supreme Court opinion?”
  • Obama rejected moral neutrality
    • Abortion issue and stem cell debates and same –sex marriage
      • Morally neutral?
      • Freedom of choice?
      • Depends on definitions of purpose
        • Committed relationship, recognition of the state
slide14

A politics of the common good

    • If a just society involves reasoning together about the good life, what kind of discourse would point us in this direction?
    • The challenge is to imagine a politics that takes moral and spiritual questions seriously, but brings them to bear on broad economic and civic concerns …on all issues.
  • A just society requires a strong sense of community, and it must cultivate in citizens a concern for the whole, a dedication to the common good.
slide15

A politics of moral engagement

    • Based on mutual respect as human beings
    • Lack of engagement makes for an impoverished public discourse and lessening of mutual respect.
    • “A politics of moral engagement is not only a more inspiring ideal than a politics of avoidance. It is also a more promising basis for a just society.”