Edmonds and Warburton: Philosophy Bites Again
Edmonds and Warburton: Philosophy Bites
Edmonds and Warburton: Philosophy Bites Back
Your email address:Powered by FeedBlitz
« Martha Nussbaum on the Value of the Humanities |
| Paul Russell on Fate »
We have just started a new weblog, Philosophy Bites Daily, which links to interesting philosophy-related content on the Web.
Posted at 11:09 AM | Permalink
According to Aristotle, Michael Sandel states politics makes us all human. Yet, rather than pose political justice questions, Sandel's parables pose individual ethical dilemmas. By the use of humorous devices, Sandel obviated serious thinking about political justice. In the parable of the trolley and the people on the track, the class chuckled at the prospect tossing a “fat” man off a bridge. No one asked about the justice related importance of the man’s obesity.
An Asian student raised the issue of genocide. The parable could have been: Choose the track. On one track, the trolley could run over a European man in a business suit and on the other track, four Asian women in peasant garb. The justice question would be “Which track would most non-Asian Americans choose?”
In the iTune Philosophy Bite’s interview, Sandel asked “Why should today’s Germans be responsible for reparations to victims of the Holocaust?” He basically sided with no reparations. In Sandal’s thinking, the Germans born or living the ‘30s are one entity and today’s millions of Germans another. Yet Germany is same single political entity. Live before or past the injustice period and you’re home free. Sandel is silent on when an injustice begins or ends.
There is a reason for the popularity of Sandel’s course at Harvard. It is a “get out of jail free” card for injustice. There’s no injustice here; so people move on. Sadly, in all of these years, there has not been a refutation of Zimbardo’s classic jail study (1973)http://www.zimbardo.com/zimbardo.html. In two weeks, normal Stanford students converted into perpetrators of inhuman acts towards “prisoners.” This demonstrates how we are prone, but yet inured, to committing unjust acts.
After all, as one of Sandel’s student said, “You gotta do what gotta do.” I’m certain that this was the sentiment held by the British sailors on the slave ships or the German truck drivers on their way to the holocaust ovens.
Sandel did take a stand. In the iTune Philosophy Bits interview Sandel used another parable. Is it unjust for rich violin collectors to outbid violinists for the “great” Stradivarius violins? In this scenario, Sandel acknowledges that the rich man has the “right” to buy the violins, but, if the rich person went overboard (i.e. hoarding all of the Stradivarius violins) something should be done. In the name of justice, the government should intervene to get some of those violins to the maestros!
January 17, 2011 at 06:33 PM
This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.
The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.
As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.
Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.
Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.
(URLs automatically linked.)
(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)
Name is required to post a comment
Please enter a valid email address
Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Basics
Nigel Warburton: A Little History of Philosophy
Nigel Warburton: Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction
Nigel Warburton: The Basics of Essay Writing
Nigel Warburton: Thinking from A to Z
Nigel Warburton: Erno Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect
Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide
Nigel Warburton: The Art Question
Nigel Warburton: Freedom: An Introduction with Readings
Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics
David Edmonds: Would You Kill the Fat Man?
David Edmonds: Caste Wars: The Philosophy of Discrimination
David Edmonds and John Eidinow: Rousseau's Dog: A Tale of Two Philosophers
David Edmonds and John Eidinow: Bobby Fischer Goes to War
David Edmonds and John Eidinow: Wittgenstein's Poker