1.7 — Justice, and Efficiency as a Normative Goal — Class Content

Wednesday, February 16, 2022



Required Reading

These are lectures from Michael Sandel’s Justice class at Harvard, one of the most popular courses. Due to the way these videos are cut (on the video pages), I encourage (but don’t require) you to watch part of the lecture immediately following each lecture mentioned above (e.g. lectures 6 and 15) as it continues the relevant discussions.

If you watch the videos on Youtube, each youtube video appears to contain two lectures per video (so you don’t need to watch the whole videos).

Optional/Referenced Reading

You may wish to glance at some of the Wikipedia pages on the two major books from which themes and opposing perspectives we discuss come from:

Questions to Guide Your Reading

The videos cover a lot of ground on different political philosophies and their consequences, but our main points we want to focus on is Rawls vs. Nozick on “social/distributive justice.”

  • What is social/distributive justice? How might we define it?

  • Do you agree more with Nozick or Rawls?

  • Where are there points of tension and/or agreement between the two positions?

  • Is/how can coercive redistribution (be) just(ified)?

  • Is/how can (in)equality (be) just(ified)?

  • How do Nozick and Rawls each answer the question: what makes a distribution just or unjust?

  • What is the best way to provide for those least well off?


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. Note while in going through the slides, you can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides. I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF