Socrates and Aristotle: The Role of Ancient Philosophers in the Self‐Understanding of Desisting Prisoners

18 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2017

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

This article argues that providing a forum for philosophical conversation within prison education is relevant to the self‐understanding and desistance of prisoners. Semi‐structured interviews with 20 participants of an in‐prison philosophy class in Scotland investigated the personal relevance of engaging in philosophical dialogue. Findings demonstrated that philosophical dialogue develops participants' self‐understanding, providing vocabulary for alternative self‐definition. The philosophy class achieved this by encouraging self‐reflection, developing communication skills, and providing a forum for positive prosocial interaction with peers. These skills are essential in reframing self‐understanding which is, in turn, essential to desistance.

Keywords: desistance, education, philosophy, prison

Suggested Citation

Szifris, Kirstine, Socrates and Aristotle: The Role of Ancient Philosophers in the Self‐Understanding of Desisting Prisoners (December 2017). The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, Vol. 56, Issue 4, pp. 419-436, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3083190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12211

Kirstine Szifris (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

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