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Justice: What s The Right Thing to Do

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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(Sep 15, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

More than 15,000 students have taken JUSTICE, making it one of the most popular classes in Harvard University s history. In a trailblazing partnership with WGBH, Harvard is opening its classroom to the world. Professor Michael Sandel s course aims to help viewers become more critically minded thinkers about the moral decisions we all face in our every day lives. Sandel presents students with ethical dilemmas on modern day issues -- such as affirmative action and same-sex marriage -- then conducts lively, engaging, and remarkably intimate debates that challenge students moral reasoning.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Sandel
  • Directors: Brigid Sullivan, Executive Producer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 720 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LDE9H4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,380 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Two immediate impressions from this 12-hour/part PBS series: (1) Harvard students receive superior instruction; and (2) the students, who signed agreements to be televised, were extraordinary. In some sense, their participation almost makes this a "reality TV series."

Philosophy Professor Michael Sandel uses the Socratic Method and Direct Instruction. He explores moral topics by asking students questions, drilling down and introducing additional information along the way. Students gave genuine, thoughtful responses. To capture this entire teaching unit on camera, using many cameras for multiple angles, was brilliant. Of course, one must adjust their expectations of student engagement by the presence of the cameras.

The teaching methods used are probably not ideal for many subjects, but for philosophy they were dynamic in the extreme. Surely Sandel has set the bar high for philosophy professors. This can only be good.

The moral questions he poses are not so simple and easy as one might expect. One tends to change their mind as Sandel brings in more facts. All the questions posed and respective responses elicited are traced to philosophical schools of thought and directly to famous dead philosophers most of us would recognize. In this way, the history of philosophical thought is brought to life. This is a fun way to learn and this DVD set may be watched again and again.

We learn how much we share values and moral principles with the body of philosophical knowledge accumulated throughout human history. Sandel points out the origin of philosophical thought processes along this lecture journey.
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As a university professor myself, I watch Sandel for his teaching methods, and I am frankly amazed! He leads discussion in a room with 1000 students! Discussion! He is a stunningly good teacher - a true master of the craft.

The content is excellent. Sandel presents material (with some of which I suspect he does not agree), and does so with fairness and clarity, presenting the argument with as little distortion as possible. He attempts to make clear the positions of these great thinkers in such a way that if the person were in the room with him, they would feel fairly represented.

What is most amazing is the mental agility he demonstrates. He will summarize the thoughts of a student, and bring clarity out of fogginess. I am amazed by how Sandel manages to lead this young students through the potentially rocky waters of heated discussion, and protect everyone's dignity.

If you are a teacher, you simply need to see this. Watching this man teach will inspire you, and help you to become better at your job.
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I saw the series mentioned on the Charlie Rose Show and was instantly arguing with the examples. I ordered the series, fired it up, and was battling with Michael Sandel in almost every example.

That level of challenge in a PBS series is rare lately. In the 80s and early 90s PBS carried complex, challenging, programs that are no longer made today.

An interesting note, watching the series I was instantly aware of how the TV series LOST echoes the themes, conflicts, and historical characters discussed in Justice. I suspect that someone on the LOST writers team took this course.

Well done.
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I found this series of great help in mapping the field of moral decisions. It was much more than a series of "ah ha" experiences - it was like the light coming on - like having GPS in the fog. I am recommending it HIGHLY to my friends. Once watched, the subject matter continued crashing around in my brain and hasn't stopped.

I was not as impressed with the Harvard students as the first reviewer was - some were sterling - many had difficulty articulating their thoughts. I believe these were law school students.
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The video is fine. The quality of the dvd is the problem. This is the second copy we have purchased. Thedvd's are weak and break even coming out of easy release cases. This copy already has cracked just in our opening and examining the dvd's. The quality of the discs is poor.
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Every American citizen should be required to take this class! Period. It will explain WHY you are free, and what your responsibilities are to remain so...a MUST for any thinking, intelligent person. An extremely satisfying experience. GREAT teacher!
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Michael leads debates that provide insight into the basis of various political belief systems. In so doing he exposes the strengths and weaknesses of these belief systems. It is all done in the context of select current issues facing our nation.
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The last discussion in this series is weak, but the others are excellent and well worth watching and thinking about. No answers to the moral questions are given, and perhaps that's a shortcoming. After all, while pointing out the weaknesses in the traditional reasoning is of value, if some sort of direction forward to a better answer isn't given,then what have you? And especially regarding moral questions, where the answers one arrives have real-life consequences...and not just for each one of us individually, but for the world we live in. So while this will guide you to think more pointedly about your current moral beliefs, it won't necessarily guide you to think more pointedly about your next ones. But the way it will guide you to think about your current ones is great.
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