Damon Horowitz in Philosophy in Prison presents interesting arguments that provoke the thought process of listeners on how they perceive right and wrong. The 2011 Ted presentation follows the story of Horowitz’s student who committed a felony and served time as a convict. The Ted Talk presentation can be accessed here; https://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz_philosophy_in_prison
Even after completing his sentence, the world still viewed Tony as an ex-convict who committed a crime and was punished for his wrongful actions. At sixteen years old, Tony made a life-changing decision, which exposed him to 25 years or life sentence for felony murder. Horowitz deduces his interactions with the now-grown Tony serving time at the San Quentin State Prison, where Tony is adamant regarding the definition of right and wrong (Horowitz). Importantly, Tony believes that no one should define wrong and right because he has suffered the consequences of his wrongful decision-making, which has hindered him from experiencing life from a certain perspective. Secondly, Tony is convinced that the world will always view him as a miscreant who made wrong decisions and tie him to the outcomes of his thought process, despite having undergone the reformation process.
However, Horowitz challenges Tony by compelling him to define wrong instead of sharing his experiences. The conversation takes a different turn when Horowitz requires Tony to provide the idea of wrong instead of sharing his encounters with wrongful decisions. The video demonstrates that many individuals are unaware of the definition of wrong and right, which hinders them from making informed decisions when confronted by life-threatening situations during their interactions with other people. Horowitz plays an important role by enlightening Tony and other individuals in the audience about the approaches they should take to understand the difference between good and evil. Even though the conversation follows the actual encounters of Tony, Horowitz exposes his audience to an environment where they can reflect on their intellectual capacity and shape their perspectives towards right and wrong.
Horowitz’s description of Tony having an imprisoned body but a free mind creates an environment for individuals to recognize the importance of knowledge. In many instances, one is considered knowledgeable if they can admit when they have a limited understanding of a certain aspect of life and society. In this regard, the admission of guilt and limited knowledge exposes individuals to a context where they can learn and expand their views on life and other societal elements. This way, it becomes easier to solve underlying issues and overcome challenges that hinder individuals from accomplishing their desired goals and objectives. From this perspective, the short video plays an important role in philosophy and its ability to resolve underlying and emerging social conflicts, hindering individuals from realizing their potential.
The short presentation follows the story of a conversation between a philosophy professor and his student in prison. Tony was sentenced to serve time after being found guilty of a crime he committed when he was sixteen. Since then, his perspective of wrong has always been tied to his experiences and interactions with other people, who have limited his existence to the wrong decisions he made as a teen. However, Horowitz challenges Tony to shift his definition of wrong from his experiences and demonstrate his ability to differentiate good from evil. His inability exposes him to a context where he acquires additional knowledge that frees his mind from his imprisoned body.
Horowitz, Damon. “Philosophy in Prison.” 2011. Ted Talks. https://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz_philosophy_in_prison#t-184812.