About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

28 December 2015


At the beginning of the year (or was it the end of last year?), I came across a book review of Harvard philosophy professor Sandel's book - Justice. The book captures the key philosophical background discussion points that define modern legal systems, discussing the modern political flash points - abortion, gay marriage and affirmative action; and many more of the underlying principles. Ultimately, it tries to identify the very basic, but very contentious and murky question of "what is just"?

The book itself is based on a very popular course given at Harvard; and now available for free at edX. The course covers 24, half hour lectures, approx 20 "poll questions" and quite a few readings etc. Unlike many other edX courses I have done, the lectures are direct recordings of lectures given at a cavernous lecture theatre with a lot of class participation and discussion. While the book covers a lot more topics (e.g. canibalism and euthanasia), I found the edX course to be more accessible and easier to digest. 

While the course itself is a philosophy course, I think it should really be considered as an essential course for everyone. As covered in the course, Aristotle considered man's participation and contribution to the "polis" as the key contribution to virtue, and thus the ultimate purpose of life. 

While modern (wo)man's participation in the polis may be reduced only to voting and political rallies (including #___mustfall marches); this is the the type of course that every (wo)man needs to understand the world. More than any other philosophy and intellectual discourse, I found the course and discussions to really give me perspective on how different people understand the concept of justice; and thus take their positions. It uncovers the motivations behind those who consider government should be limited and those who consider a nanny state to be ideal; those who don't consider the sins of our forefathers matter and those that call for slavery and colonial restitution. It is more than political pandering and ultimately for our own democracy and political world to prosper, people need to at least identify and understand the underlying philosophies - if nothing else to debate their inconsistencies. 

The course is available online, for free, at edX until 15 January 2016. I highly recommend it.

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