你一上政治课就想打瞌睡吗,或者一听见“哲学”两个字就会眼前发黑?其实哲学并不一定就是沉闷难懂的天书,思想道德课也可以引人入胜——法学教授迈克尔·桑德尔的“公正:该如何做是好?”(“Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?”)就是最受哈佛新生欢迎的公开课。他通过生动有趣的举例引发学生思考现实问题,其视频在各大网站创下超高点击率。本文节选自第一堂课的结语部分,词汇不难,语速和缓,但长句较多,句型复杂,在理解上有一定难度。建议大家掌握好生词后通读全文,先熟悉内容,再听原声进行跟读模仿。另外,这篇文章条理分明,论述环环相扣,学有余力的同学不妨背诵下来,学习其中的写作技巧。
If you look at the 1)syllabus, you’ll notice that we read a number of great and famous books – books by Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill注1, and others. You’ll notice, too, from the syllabus that we don’t only read these books, we also take up contemporary, political, and legal 2)controversies that raise philosophical questions.
This may sound appealing enough, but here I have to issue a warning. And the warning is this: to read these books in this way as an exercise in self-knowledge, to read them in this way carries certain risks – risks that are both personal and political, risks that every student of political philosophy has known. These risks spring from the fact that philosophy teaches us and 3)unsettles us by confronting us with what we already know.
There’s an irony. The difficulty of this course consists in the fact that it teaches what you already know. It works by taking what we know from familiar, unquestioned settings, and making it strange. Philosophy 4)estranges us from the familiar, not by supplying new information, but by inviting and 5)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 un-thought or unknown.
What makes this 6)enterprise difficult, but also 7)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 8)presuppositions of public policy, you will 9)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 10)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 11)debilitating – activity.
Those are the risks, personal and political. And in the face of these risks, there is a characteristic 12)evasion. The name of the evasion is 13)skepticism. It’s the idea…well, it goes something like this: we didn’t 14)resolve once and for all either the cases or the principles we were arguing when we began. And if Aristotle, and Locke, and Kant, and Mill haven’t solved these questions after all of these years, who are we to think that we – here in Sanders Theatre注2 over the course of a semester – can resolve them?
It’s true these questions have been debated for a very long time, but the very fact that they have 15)recurred and persisted may suggest that though they’re impossible in one sense, they’re unavoidable in another. And the reason they’re unavoidable, the reason they’re inescapable is that we live some answer to these questions every day. So skepticism – just throwing up your hands and giving up on moral 16)reflection – is no solution.
I’ve tried to suggest through these stories and these arguments some sense of the risks and 17)temptations, of the 18)perils and the possibilities. I would simply conclude by saying that the aim of this course is to awaken the 19)restlessness of reason, and to see where it might lead.
Thank you very much.