In 2015, Freddie Gray suffered fatal injuries in the back of a police van. Since then, the Baltimore police department has instituted various reforms, including an educational program for police that includes philosophy and literature.
Drawing on his master of liberal arts degree from Johns Hopkins University, the 48-year-old [Detective Ed] Gillespie teaches a curriculum that includes bite-sized chunks of literature, philosophy, and history. “You can get so into the outcomes, into the methods, [that] you don’t look at the ethic with which you’re operating in many cases,” Gillespie said. “And we’re trying to get officers to delve into it.”
The police in Gillespie’s classes aren’t always receptive to his teaching; they can get defensive and clam up. But sometimes the discussions go well and there seems to be real learning going on. As The Atlantic article mentions, it is unclear what effect programs like the one in Baltimore will have over the long run. Still, it
We’ve posted about philosophy in prisons before (see here, here, and here for example), and discussed teaching about police violence and mass incarceration and managing related class discussions, but we haven’t, to my recollection, talked about philosophy for police. Given the time limitations and various other pedagogical considerations (including the receptivity of the students to various materials), what works of philosophy do you think would be worth teaching to police?
UPDATE (11/29/17): Julian Baggini makes some suggestions here.