Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sandel's online Justice course

I just came across this website (via Everyday Philosophy at the Purple Bike Café) that is gradually releasing videos from what appears to be a comprehensive introductory ethics course by Michael Sandel at Harvard. I've read Sandel, but I had no idea he was such a gifted lecturer.

The aesthetic is a little weird -- the production qualities suggest daytime talk show meets Sunday preaching meets professional comedy. But the intellectual content is excellent and it's great to see a high profile philosophy professor grappling with highly motivated undergrads and using the discussion to help teach a course -- and a very large course at that. Lots of great ideas for how to teach certain issues. It's also a little eerie to get a peek inside someone else's intro classroom and see how he interacts with his students. I highly recommend it.


  1. For new teachers, often our only experience of how to teach a particular topic was from trying to remember how our own professors taught us as undergrads (which is often difficult, as we weren't paying attention to that aspect of the class at the time). So getting a peek into others' classrooms is a great idea for us.

    In the same vein, I found Shelly Kagan's online 'death' lectures very useful when teaching year 12 students about personal identity.

  2. Tim, I agree. I was very inspired by Sandel's handling of the Trolley hypothetical (among other things); feature it on my first day too. Sandel was just interviewed this afternoon on the Diane Rehm show, you can listen to his interview there:

    :) Karla


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