Critical Thinking for Inmates

Critical Thinking for Inmates

CRITICAL THINKING FOR INMATES I. WHY SHOULD PHILOSOPHY TEACHERS CARE? a) The Inconvenience Factor b) The Risk Factor c) The Financial Reward Factor d) The Professional Reward Factor A. PHILOSOPHY AS A TRANSFORMATIVE DISCIPLINE 1. Standard Divisions in Philosophy: A. Speculative Philosophy B. Analytic Philosophy

2. Alternative Divisions A. Speculative Philosophy B. Analytic Philosophy C. Transformative Philosophy ref. Marx, Philosophers have interpreted the world. The point is to change it. Cf. Plato, Aristotle, Mill, Dewey

B. PHILOSOPHY AS CORE OF HUMANITIES 1. Humanities incl. Philosophy are designed to: a) Cultivate the best of our human natures. b) Our best natures include our rationality, emotions of courage, pride, patriotism, love and care for each other. 2. Additionally, Philosophy Facilitates: a) The cultivation of intellectual & moral virtues b) The detection and avoidance of intellectual & moral vices. 3. Inmates need these virtues more than most groups for their intellectual and moral transformation. C. THE IMPERATIVE TO SYNTHESIZE

JUSTICE ETHICS & CARE ETHICS 1. Our judicial and prison systems are modeled after the Justice Paradigm in ethics. 2. The Justice Paradigm has not been effective in crime prevention and recidivism reduction 3. The Care Paradigm has been more effective in crime prevention and recidivism reduction ( See www.judgemathison.com) & CNN/Larry King July 25,2010 Therefore, seeking a synthesis or a fair balance between Justice Ethics & Care Ethics within the judiciary and prison systems has become imperative for philosophers.

JUDGE MATHIS PEER INTIATIVE /PROGRAM P= PRISONER E=EMPOWERMENT E=EDUCATION & R= RESPECT See You-Tube Video

PRACTICE SESSION 1. Identify a Phil course in your Dept suitable for inmate transformation 2. How would you construct/modify your syllabus to reflect your objectives/goal 3. Give 2 examples of Topics/Chapters you would choose 4. Give 2 examples of Essay Questions you might assign to the inmates Lets critique each others inputs 1-4 II. HOW CAN YOU HELP? A. Find out from your College authorities if such a

program exists for teaching inmates. 1. If one exists then you could apply for philosophy courses to be included e.g. Ethics, Critical Thinking and Introduction to Philosophy. (Unlike 20th Century Analytic Philosophy or Philosophy of Language they can be easily justified or defended.) 2. If none exists, then go through your Chair and Dean etc. to arrange for such a program through the Dept of Corrections in your County or State. B. You can also do further research and publication on the rationale, resources, and methods for extending these and similar courses or programs to inmates.

SOME DOS AND DONTS FOR INMATE INSTRUCTORS A. SAMPLE DOS 1. Always be polite and respectful of prison staff and students 2, Always be professional in your dress, communication, and attitude at all times 3, Participate in prison staff orientation (s) 4. Abide by all the rules and regulations. *5. Choose course materials carefully for their educational and transformative potential * Show Model Text, Syllabus, Exx. (Elon web)

SAMPLE DONTS 1. Dont enter the prison yard with contraband items .e. g. guns, drugs, metal objects, purses, credit cards etc. 2. Dont get too close to any inmate 3. Dont ask them for any favors 4. Dont promise them any favors 5. Dont share any personal stories with them 6. Dont give them your address or contact information 7. Dont wear suits or any extravagant dress. CONCLUSION 1. Q& A

2. Summary 3. Consider 3 Optional Response to this presentation: a: If their parents , teachers and pastors or the prison system could not change them what can I do? b. The only function of Philosophy regarding morality should be value clarification (Logical Positivists etc.) c: Philosophy has the tools and the mandate for personal & social transformation. (Aristotle, Marx, Dewey, MLK etc. 4. Appeal : Reject a) Its a Cynical Response Reject b) Its a Rationalization Response Embrace c) Its the Transformative Response

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