Heroes and Bystanders Jan. 27 – 30

January 7, 2014

What are our responsibilities to other human beings in crises ranging from school bullying to mass atrocity? Where does moral courage come from on an individual level? What makes one person a hero and another a bystander? Will states take costly action for the sake of moral goals? Come explore these themes with other MIT students in this seminar series! The series will examine the sources of moral courage and responsibility through discussion of philosophical writings on the subject, individual stories of both heroes and bystanders, and recent events including NATO’s intervention in Libya and the recent suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi. Material will be drawn from Camus’s The Plague, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower, Phillip Hallie’s Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed,Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men, and Samantha Power’s A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, among others. Although this is a non-credit course, students are encouraged to keep a reflective journal detailing their responses and reactions to course material. Advance sign-up required by January 20. Participants welcome at individual sessions. Sponsored by the MIT Political Science Department. Contact Amanda Rothschild or see the IAP listing for more information.

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