Tag: crime

  • Modernity and Despair: What Should We Hope For?

    Modernity and Despair: What Should We Hope For?

    Modernity of our sort produces a certain kind of despair and helplessness because the primary sources of hope are technological development and the institutional efforts of technocrats. The best hope of progress is always elsewhere: the Supreme Court, Silicon Valley, the Justice Department. Looking back we see lots of progress but no role for ourselves in achieving more.

  • The “Humanitarianism” of Living in Prison Until Death

    The “Humanitarianism” of Living in Prison Until Death

    The profile of Judith Clark from last month has me worried: We are more willing to impose death when the killer is painted in monochrome—if we can define him or her by the horror of the crime. Many think this is just; that is what blame and punishment are about. But in rare public comments […]

  • When we finally start talking about gun control, what should we say?

    When we finally start talking about gun control, what should we say?

    I love policy discussions, but the demands for policy discussion on gun control after the shootings in Newtown today are terribly wrong-headed. The problem is that demanding a policy discussion is not the same thing as having a policy discussion. At this point, we’re just talking about talking about gun control. It’s all “mention” and […]

  • Reflections on my Crime and Punishment Seminar

    Reflections on my Crime and Punishment Seminar

      This semester I taught a course on crime and punishment, and in part out of competition with my colleague Seth Vannatta, I set out to give a final presentation on the dimensions of the course. This is the presentation I wrote. Introduction Our task was to explore the role of ethics in the law, […]

  • Bayes’ Theorem: An Introduction for Philosophers

    We don’t normally think of induction and statistics as a part of critical thinking courses, but I think we should. Logic doesn’t end with deduction, after all, and there are few other instances in a college curriculum where students are asked to think carefully about how they ought to evaluate evidence, rather than being asked to apply […]