Thursday, October 29, 2009

Michael Sandel - LSE / UChannel

Have you also enjoyed Michael Sandel on the BBC Reith Lectures 2009? It made me crave being in class when Sandel teaches and it turns out that that is now possible for a brief moment. Albeit after the fact, but still.

Sandel was invited to speak at the London School of Economics on his subject that also was central in the Reith Lectures: The Moral Limits of Markets. This can be heard on the LSE Podcast and has been republished also at the UChannel Podcast. Usually these podcasts are one way lectures, at best with a question and answer session at the end, but Sandel's appearance takes on the character of a class. From the beginning he interacts with the audience and on the spot pushes them to explore moral issues with markets. This is exactly what I had imagined how it would be to study with him.

Just as in the Reith Lectures, Sandel shows how the current market thinking allows for turning anything into a commodity and if we feel something is wrong there, it is hard to get a grip on that intuition. Is it wrong to turn to commodity health services? Prisons? Warfare? Carbon Dioxide emissions? Refugee quota? Could you take options on certain occurrences, such as a celebrity's death or terrorist attacks? Sandel's contribution to the discussion is the analysis of the intuition. He shows that aside from market freedom, also principles of justice and morality play a role.

More Michael Sandel:
A new politics of the common good,
The bioethics concern,
Morality in Politics,
Morality and the Market,
Michael Sandel - Philosophy Bites.