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Justice, anyone?

I had heard about Michael Sandel’s Justice course at Harvard, now available online to anyone for free.  It looks great, so I’m going to embark on that as an addition to my course in Real Estate Law.  I think the Harvard course could make for some fun discussions, if anyone else is interested. Here is the link:  http://www.justiceharvard.org/ 

The first issue is cannibalism – when, if ever, is it justified?  Having read the horrendous story (In the Heart of the Seaby Nathaniel Philbrick) of the Essex, the ship that was “stove by a whale”, thus inspiring Melville’s Moby Dick, while leaving surviving crew members adrift in small boats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the issue of cannibalism returns with force, making this a compelling case.  Also of note, in the reading materials presented with the first episode, the case of The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens from 1884, describes a similar situation of mariners adrift in a lifeboat who resort to cannibalism to survive.  Interestingly, the name of the cannibalized youth in the case referenced is Richard Parker, also the name of the Bengal tiger in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. 

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