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PHIL 24R: Grad Tutorial: Plato on Punishment

Tutorial taught by grad student. Enrollment limited to 10. Being punished is good for you, and not being punished is bad for you. The Ancient Greek Philosopher Plato held these two claims through his entire philosophical career. Our task in this course is to explore the value of punishment through Plato's work. We'll be doing both history and philosophy. The historical question is why Plato believed such a thing and how we can motivate his view most plausibly. But the philosophical question is whether that view should persuade us and whether it has any advantages over contemporary justifications of punishment. Perhaps one might think that detentions benefit unruly students. But if you were to litter, do we think imposing a fine would make you better off? If you committed a more serious crime, how could incarcerating you help? And finally, if you were to commit a crime that merited the death penalty, how could we ever explain that it was for your benefit? But if punishments never benefit the offender, how much does the offender matter when we set up our systems of punishment and justice? We'll tackle all these questions through philosophy, politics and history and take Plato's highly counter-intuitive view as our starting point.
Terms: Spr | Units: 2
Instructors: Sparling, R. (PI)
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