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Justice: Consequentialist versus Categorical Moral Reasoning

art-sta-ivstitia-1Over the past week, we have looked a great deal at the notion of “Justice” and we have even created our own wiki in an attempt to create our own textbook on the subject. We have also looked at experts, such as Michael Sandel and Arthur Schafer, to help us in our quest. See Sandel’s lecture below:

Now we have undertaken the task of reading the infamous case of the The Case of the Speluncean Explorers. Read the case and the judgements made by the various justices and comment on what you think is justice in this case. Please provide a rationale for your argument and comment on what your colleagues are arguing.

Assimilation and Colonialism

World_1898_empires_colonies_territoryOver the past few weeks, we have been discussing the concepts of assimilation and colonialism in Canada in the Contemporary World. We have even begun working on a project to help us explore these complex ideas.

Here are some definitions we researched:

Here are some of the resources we have looked at thus far:

Former Primer Minister Paul Martin on colonialism

Prime Minister Harper’s denial of colonialism

Slide show of Colonization of Africa

Based on the research we have done and our look at Quebec’s Charter of Values, provide a current example of colonialism and/or assimilation in the world. Justify your choice and comment on what other folks have offered.

What is History? Depends who you are?

Today in Canadian History we read the first chapter of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Granted, it does seem like a strange read for a Canadian history class, but I think that it does speak to our purpose this year and the purpose of historians. In fact, I think this chapter not only highlights the appalling events which occurred at first contact between Europeans and first peoples, but it also speaks to the debate that is required in the pursuit of History.

So what is History then? This is a question that has plagued western society for the past few thousand years, principally since Thucydides wrote The History of the Peloponnesian War and Herodotus wrote The History. These historians took different approaches to history, and have been critiqued ever since.

To help us with this question, let’s take a look at a contemporary issue where history might help us. Recently the Quebec Parti Quebecois government as proposed a new charter that would disallow the wearing of any religious symbols in government buildings and seems to, as some have said, a pro-secular offensive.

Here is the CBC’s At Issue Panel giving us a breakdown on the Charter (and among other things):

 Here are a couple of opinion pieces on the Charter of Values. One is from Ian Henderson, an SJR grad and a professor at McGill University. The other is from Edward Greenspon from the Toronto Star. Read both, and then comment on how the doing of history can help us understand this contemporary problem. What pieces of history do we need to know? Why might history be important in this case? What would happen if we took an A-historical look at this issue?

Lastly, let’s do some history of our own. How did Quebec get to this point? Why would Premiere Marois advocate for such a policy and why would Quebec have a different Charter of Rights?

I look forward to your insight!