The Myra Kraft Open Classroom

Wednesday Evenings, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
September 3rd through December 3
West Village F, Room 20

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Each semester we select one graduate-level seminar and open it up to the entire campus and public-at-large to attend for free. Each week we feature prominent guest lecturers with real-world expertise and experience.This semester’s instructors are:

Barry Bluestone, Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy

Michael Dukakis, Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Daniel Medwed, Professor of Law, School of Law

Kevin Murray, Executive Director, Program in Human Rights & Global Economy, School of Law

Paola Cesarini, Director, University Honors Program, Department of Political Science


This course offers a multidisciplinary approach to an exploration of “justice” as an ethical, legal, political, economic, and social concept. With leading scholars from the fields of philosophy, law, economics, political science, sociology, and international affairs, the class will delve into a range of topics all of which turn on the question posed by Harvard University Professor of Government, Michael J. Sandel, “What is the Right Thing to Do?”

As a starting point, this course will address philosophical questions about the meaning of justice and contrasting views as to the basis for ethical behavior:

  • Justice: Maximizing welfare 
  • Justice: Individual Rights 
  • Justice: Virtue and “the good life” 

This course should serve as a precursor to any study of public policy, providing guidance on what good public policy should be based. The course begins by exploring the philosophical roots of ethical behavior, perhaps uncomfortably suggesting that what is the right thing to do is not always obvious. The course continues by looking at a set of issues all related to providing a better understanding of justice and public policy.

Non-credit participation is free and open to the public. After registering for the semester, you may attend whichever sessions you are interested in. Registering helps us manage expectations about attendance. In addition, being on the class roster allows you to receive timely information through class announcements.

Register Here  |  See The Full Course Description

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