Volume 15, Issue 1, Spring 2015
Towards a "What-If" Class
Practices of Respect as the Aim of Teaching Ethics to Court-Involved Youth
This paper contends that the primary aim of teaching ethics to court-involved youth should be the realization of respect. I make this argument by defining what is meant by a practice of respect using Bernard Williams’s "The Idea of Equality." I then couch this understanding in my recent experience leading a moral/political philosophy workshop with court-involved youth in Harlem, New York. Raising the objection that educational opportunity, not the practice of respect, should be the primary aim of teaching court-involved youth, I respond to this objection by examining the stated aims of two prison education programs, Inside Out and Bard Prison Initiative. I argue that the educational opportunities within a broken system can hinder the practice of respect, while educational opportunities can arise from the practice of respect.