Michael Sandel has his Harvard University course on Justice online. It has recording of the lectures, reading lists, and discussion material. (It comes on with a loud audio soundtrack)
Good article about the course – including how he came to teach it and about his critics.
Good line in article – “Campus legend has it that Sandel provided the physical inspiration for Mr. Burns, the villainous nuclear-plant owner on The Simpsons, for which many Harvard graduates have written.”
Amartya Sen, the Noble prize winner in economics, has a similar book out and here is an article about it.
Suppose three children—Anne, Bob, and Carla—quarrel over a flute. Anne says it’s hers because she’s the only one who knows how to play it. Bob counters that he’s the poorest and has no toys, so the flute would at least give him something to play with. Carla reminds Anne and Bob that she built the darn thing, and no sooner did she finish it than the other two started trying to take it away.
When Rawls declared justice “the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought,” and began his painstaking probe of the conditions of just institutions, he re-established a modern tradition dating back to Hobbes: using social-contract theory to articulate ideal forms of social justice, sometimes in quasi-syllogistic form. But there was also a longstanding, skeptical, antisystematic tradition in justice theory. One of the suspenseful aspects of Sen’s book is how its author, personally close to Rawls (who died in 2002) but more expansive and historical in regard to justice, walks a difficult line between the analytic foundationalism Rawls and Nozick practiced and the sensitivity to real-world justice in people’s lives that Sen and Martha Nussbaum argue for and describe as the “capabilities” conception of justice.
Solomon wrote in A Passion for Justice that justice is “a complex set of passions to be cultivated, not an abstract set of principles to be formulated. … Justice begins with compassion and caring, not principles or opinions, but it also involves, right from the start, such ‘negative’ emotions as envy, jealousy, indignation, anger, and resentment, a keen sense of having been personally cheated or neglected, and the desire to get even.” In time, suggested Solomon, “the sense of justice emerges as a generalization and, eventually, a rationalization of a personal sense of injustice.”
Update – Jewish Texts for Social Justice from American Jewish World Service. Let me know what you find in the various categories. Is it all pragmatic? Is there any overall theory? I see that Levinas, Heschel, Soloveitchik are used interchangeably in small snippets.