Monday, December 07, 2009

A Magnificent Classroom on PBS about Philosophy and Justice

He is a thoroughly engaging professor possessing a rare gift of clarity, who quotes from the great philosophers (Kant and Aristotle, among others) in a challenging discourse on how to debate and decide the morality of contemporary issues. His manner is both instructive and generously respectful. He engages his students in congenial exchanges. And now, thanks to the TV camera, we are there too. How richly satisfying it is to vicariously attend a class at Harvard.

His name is Michael J. Sandel. A wonderful new PBS series televising his lectures is tilted "Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?" And, oh, what a right departure it is from all of the ersatz self-help gurus whose slick presentations before tidy little audiences of doting admirers clutter up PBS pledge breaks, ad nauseum.

I can't recall feeling this genuinely stimulated since -- when, since perhaps when the great Krishnamurti lectured all alone on a bare television set back in the '60s, or when David Suskind conversed with active minds on his "Open End" TV program.

An A+ to you, Professor Sandel. How lucky I am to be auditing your class!

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