A Kantian Argument Against Solitary Confinement

A Kantian Argument Against Solitary Confinement

A Kantian Argument Against Solitary Confinement

Date/Time: October 25, 5pm
Place: Bunce Hall, Room 106

A Kantian Argument

Scholars and activists frequently argue that solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment, but it is difficult to explain exactly how it is cruel and unusual. After all, punishment is supposed to be (by definition) burdensome and painful, and it is sometimes unclear how solitary confinement differs from regular imprisonment. In this paper, I turn to Kant to try to articulate what seems especially bad about solitary confinement. For Kant, depriving human beings of interaction with others in a shared world erodes their capacity to reason. Extreme forms of deprivation, like solitary confinement, turn human reason against itself. As a result, solitary confinement is more akin to torture than to imprisonment.

Theorizing at Rowan is a series of work in progress lectures covering a range of topics of relevance to scholars in philosophy, religion studies, and other related disciplines. The goal of the series is to promote scholarly exchange involving the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, the university, and interested scholars throughout the region. Speakers will include members of the department, faculty from elsewhere at Rowan and from other institutions.

All Theorizing at Rowan events are free and open to the public.

Further information about the series can be found at: http://theorizing-at-rowan.tumblr.com/.

Ed Kazarian
Philosophy & Religion Studies