What is a just society? What do we owe one another as citizens? What is a good life? These questions, long debated by philosophers, arise with special urgency at a time of pandemic and racial reckoning.
The course explores these questions by considering how philosophers have tried to answer them, and by debating contemporary issues—in politics and everyday life–that prompt us to ask: What’s the right thing to do? Topics include controversies about equality and inequality, individual rights and the common good, the role of government and markets, and competing conceptions of identity and community. Cases include ethical questions arising from the pandemic and recent debates about racial justice.
This is a University course. All students should enroll in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences version of the course, GENED 1171
Justice is a University Course, which means that students from all Harvard schools are able to enroll. Enrollment is limited to 750. Students who submit a petition to enroll by August 21 will have priority.
Graduate students must submit a petition to enroll through my.harvard by 11:59 p.m. Friday, August 21. If interest requires a lottery, it will be run on Monday, August 24, at which time your petition will be either approved or denied. If approved, your seat will be held until your school’s registration deadline. Visit the Fall 2020 Gen Ed web page for more information and step-by-step instructions.
Class meetings integrate video materials with live discussion—sometimes with the class as a whole, sometimes in small breakout sessions. Due to the participatory nature of the course, students are expected to attend all class meetings. Those unable to attend in the morning are welcome to attend the evening version of the course (M and W, 7:30-8:45pm). This is not a recorded version of the morning class, but a live, participatory session covering the same material and led by Dr. Sergio Imparato. All students will also have a weekly, small group discussion section.