Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's the 'Right' Thing To Do?

Would you steal a drug that your child needs to survive? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Is torture ever justified?

There’s now a free (and for years an extraordinarily popular class) Harvard University course being offered online about looking at, and challenging, the reasoning behind the how’s and why’s of the moral decisions we make every day.

Over the years, more than 14,000 students have taken popular course “Justice” with Michael J. Sandel. Interest has run high outside the classroom and recently enough money was raised to produce it like a big HD multimedia event and not some boring online class.

After I watched the intro (above) and took a peek at some of the classes, I intend to watch as many of the 12 episodes as I can; if I really like the class I’ll watch them all. They will all be available on YouTube, or linked together here.

In today’s world, the scandals all over the news appear to stem from lack of moral fiber. Our moral compass is broken. In my grandfather’s time, a man was judged by his ethical fiber, and a man’s word (and or handshake) was his bond.

I think it’s time we re-examine what it means to have ‘moral fiber’ and perhaps this course can give us some insights about how we (and others) got here, and whether we can change it.

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