Saturday, November 07, 2009

Peace, Etc.

I'm currently at the Concerned Philosophers for Peace conference in Dayton, Ohio. Got lots of positive feedback and ideas on my paper, and have met many really great people.

Angela Davis
gave the keynote last night, discussing various examples of injustice and violence that get perpetuated by the American prison system. Davis, if you aren't familiar, is a "prison abolitionist." And she really means it. The interesting point was not so much the point of trying harder to understand why crimes happen, but that abolishing prison is not the same as the end of holding people accountable. Rather, it means that we could, if we face the problems, come up with much more creative and productive ways of holding people accountable than by making them invisible (by, as it were, putting them behind bars). Of course, for Davis, that is a secondary point; her primary concern has to do with the connections between prison and our history of racism (and other forms of oppression). Very thought-provoking.


  1. My dissertation advisor, David Boonin, wrote a book with Cambridge called "The Problem of Punishment". I think he favors a system of restitutition, instead of legal punishment.

  2. From a sobering review of several books on the American system of incarceration:

    Were we in John Rawls's "original position," with no idea whether we would be born a black male in an impoverished urban home,[...] would we accept a system in which one out of every three black males born today can expect to spend time in jail during his life?

  3. And some interesting perplexities about incarceration and "happiness"/well-being.