In 2009, Harvard philosophy professor Michael Sandel broke some ground when he made his popular course, “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?,” available online. A course taken by thousands of Harvard undergrads suddenly became a course taken by tens of thousands of lifelong learners worldwide.
Since then, Sandel has continued speaking to a broader audience, first creating a BBC podcast called “The Public Philosopher,” where he “examines the thinking behind a current controversy.” (Download the episodes here.) And now comes a new program, The Global Philosopher, which grapples with philosophical problems using an innovative digital format. According to the BBC, the show brings together “60 participants from over 30 countries using a pioneering studio developed by [the] Harvard Business School, called HBX Live. Each participant is able to see and speak to every other contributor, as well as to Professor Sandel, replicating the experience of a face-to-face debate.” In the first debate, shown above, “contributors from America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East discussed the moral justification for national borders. Hundreds more watched a live video stream and took part by sending in text comments and voting in straw polls.” This is just the first of more planned installments. Down the road, you can find new episodes of The Global Philosopher here.