Introduction

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HarvardX is proud to relaunch this introduction to Justice with new videos and discussion forums in multiple languages!

Justice, one of the most famous courses taught at Harvard College, is an introduction to moral and political philosophy, offering an opportunity to discuss contemporary dilemmas and controversies. Taught by lauded Harvard professor Michael Sandel, Justice explores critical analysis of classical and contemporary theories of justice, including discussion of present-day applications.

Topics include affirmative action, income distribution, same-sex marriage, the role of markets, debates about rights (human rights and property rights), arguments for and against equality, dilemmas of loyalty in public and private life. The course invites learners to subject their own views on these controversies to critical examination.

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The principal readings for the course are texts by Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls. Other assigned readings include writings by contemporary philosophers, court cases, and articles about political controversies that raise philosophical questions.

Closed Captioning and discussion forums are available in Chinese, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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Meet The Faculty

Michael Sandel

Michael Sandel

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980.

His popular book, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, a New York Times best seller, relates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of our time.

Sandel’s other books include Liberalism and the Limits of Justice; Democracy’s Discontent; Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics; and The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering. Sandel’s latest book, What Money Can’t Buy, explores the moral dilemmas of a capitalistic society and the choices people face daily. His work has been translated into fifteen foreign languages. His writings appear in general publications such as The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times, and his work has been featured in television series on PBS, the BBC, and NHK (Japan).

At Harvard, Sandel’s courses include “Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature,” “Ethics, Economics, and Law,” and “Globalization and Its Critics.” His undergraduate course “Justice” is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online (www.JusticeHarvard.org) and on public television.

A recipient of the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, Sandel was recognized by the American Political Science Association in 2008 for a career of excellence in teaching. He has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne (Paris), delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Oxford University, and in 2009 delivered the BBC Reith Lectures, broadcast in the U.K. and worldwide on the BBC World Service. In 2010, China Newsweek named him the most influential foreign figure of the year in China.

In the U.S., Sandel has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. A summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University (1975), Sandel received his doctorate from Oxford University (D.Phil.,1981), where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

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