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How to Measure Pleasure

Justice Episode 3 of 8

In the third in a series of lectures drawn from Harvard professor Michael Sandel's famous undergraduate course on the philosophy of justice, he introduces the British philosopher John Stuart Mill and compares the artistic merits of Shakespeare and The Simpsons.

Mill argued that seeking the greatest good for the greatest number is compatible with protecting individual rights, and that utilitarianism can make room for a distinction between higher and lower pleasures. Sandel tests Mill's theory that that the higher pleasure is that which is preferred by a well-informed majority by playing video clips from three very different forms of entertainment - Shakespeare's Hamlet, the reality show Fear Factor and The Simpsons. Students debate their own preferences and whether Mill's defense of utilitarianism is successful.

30 minutes

Last on

Wed 9 Feb 2011 04:10


Role Contributor
PresenterMichael Sandel
WriterMichael Sandel
ProducerMick Conefrey
DirectorMick Conefrey
Executive ProducerJulian Mercer