Justice, What's the Right Thing to Do? With Michael Sandel
Justice, What's the Right Thing to Do? With Michael Sandel
  • Park Kim Injin / Women Desk Ed
  • 승인 2011.04.07 03:01
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Episode 1 : The Moral Side of Murder



The lecture “Justice” is the most popular course in Harvard’s history, with more than 14,000 students over the course of two decades.  In this course, Professor Michael Sandel challenges his students with difficult moral dilemmas and asks our opinion about the right thing to do.  He then asks us to examine our answers in the light of new scenarios.  The results are often surprising, revealing that important moral questions are never black and white.


● What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Suppose you’re the driver of a trolley car, and your trolley car is hurling down the track at 60 miles an hour, and at the end of the track, you notice five workers working on the track.  You tried to stop but you can’t because your brakes don’t work.  And you notice that off to the right, there is a side track.  At the end of that track, there’s one worker working on the track.  Your steering wheel works, so you can turn the trolley car if you want to.

● Here’s Our First Question:  What would you do?  Would you turn the trolley car onto the side track or just go straight ahead?  What is your answer?  The majority of students answered they would turn the trolley car onto the side track so they can save five by sacrificing one.

● What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Let’s consider another trolley car case.  This time, you’re not the driver of the trolley car, you’re an onlooker.  The trolley car with broken brakes is about to careen into the five and kill them.  You really feel helpless until you notice a very fat man leaning over the bridge next to you.  You could give him a shove.  He would fall over the bridge onto the track, right in the way of the trolley car.  He would die but he would spare the five.

● Here’s Our Second Question:  What would you do?  Would you push him so you can save five others?  What was your answer this time? For this second question, the majority said they would not push the fat man.  Then, here comes the obvious question.  What became of the principle that it’s better to save five lives even if it means sacrificing one?



Professor Michael Sandel explains the answers for these questions and introduces the principles of justice.  To find out his answers and explanations, visit SNOW to listen to the latter part of this lecture.




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