Michael Sandel 氏による講義の動画と音声練習指定箇所のスクリプトです。


Philosophy estranges us from the familiar, not by supplying new information, but by inviting and provoking a new way of seeing. But, and here’s the risk, once the familiar turns strange, it’s never quite the same again. Self-knowledge is like lost innocence. However unsettling you find it, it can never be unthought or unknown. What makes this enterprise difficult, but also riveting, is that moral and political philosophy is a story, and you don’t know where the story will lead, but what you do know is that the story is about you. Those are the personal risks.

Now what of the political risks? One way of introducing a course like this would be to promise you that by reading these books and debating these issues, you will become a better, more responsible citizen. You will examine the presuppositions of public policy. You will hone your political judgment. You will become a more effective participant in public affairs. But this would be a partial and misleading promise. Political philosophy, for the most part, hasn’t worked that way. You have to allow for the possibility that political philosophy may make you a worse citizen rather than a better one, or at least a worse citizen before it makes you a better one. And that’s because philosophy is a distancing, even debilitating activity.

And you see this going back to Socrates. There’s a dialogue, the Gorgias, in which one of the Socrates' friends, Callicles, tries to talk him out of philosophizing. Callicles tells Socrates, philosophy is a pretty toy if one indulges in it with moderation at the right time of life. But if one pursues it further than one should, it is absolute ruin. Take my advice, Callicles says, abandon argument. Learn the accomplishments of active life. Take for your models not those people who spend their time on these petty quibbles, but those who have a good livelihood and reputation and many other blessings. So Callicles is really saying to Socrates, quit philosophizing. Get real. Go to business school. And Callicles did have a point. He had a point, because philosophy distances us from conventions, from established assumptions, and from subtle beliefs. Those are the risks, personal and political.