Hired Guns; Motherhood: For Sale

Recent Episodes

Debating Same-sex Marriage; The Good Life

Debating Same-sex Marriage; The Good Life

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

The Season 1 finale focuses on same-sex marriage.

60 min.

The Good Citizen; Freedom vs. Fit

The Good Citizen; Freedom vs. Fit

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Disabled golfer Casey Martin's case against the PGA.

60 min.

Claims of Community; Where Our Loyalty Lies

Claims of Community; Where Our Loyalty Lies

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Kant's belief in a universal duty to humanity.

60 min.

Arguing Affirmative Action; What's the Purpose?

Arguing Affirmative Action; What's the Purpose?

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

The pros and cons of affirmative action are debated.

60 min.

What's a Fair Start? What Do We Deserve?

What's a Fair Start? What Do We Deserve?

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Redistributing wealth to help the disadvantaged.

60 min.

A Lesson in Lying; A Deal is a Deal

A Lesson in Lying; A Deal is a Deal

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

The morality of lying and misleading truths.

60 min.


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During the Civil War, men drafted into war had the option of hiring substitutes to fight in their place. Professor Sandel asks students whether they consider this policy just. Many do not, arguing that it is unfair to allow the affluent to avoid serving and risking their lives by paying less privileged citizens to fight in their place. This leads to a classroom debate about war and conscription. Is today’s voluntary army open to the same objection? Should military service be allocated by the labor market or by conscription? What role should patriotism play, and what are the obligations of citizenship — is there a civic duty to serve one’s country? And are utilitarians and libertarians able to account for this duty?

In part two, Professor Sandel examines the principle of free-market exchange in light of the contemporary controversy over reproductive rights. Sandel begins with a humorous discussion of the business of egg and sperm donation. He then describes the case of “Baby M" — a famous legal battle in the mid-eighties that raised the unsettling question, “Who owns a baby?" In 1985, a woman named Mary Beth Whitehead signed a contract with a New Jersey couple, agreeing to be a surrogate mother in exchange for a fee of $10,000. However, after giving birth, Ms. Whitehead decided she wanted to keep the child, and the case went to court. Sandel and students debate the nature of informed consent, the morality of selling a human life, and the meaning of maternal rights.

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Fine Art Auction July 2014