2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Is labour used as punishment in private immigration detention justifiable, or is it slavery?

The private prison industry has expanded into immigration detention in return for money and is using the forced labour of their inmates to return a sizeable profit to their shareholders. Is this a justifiable punishment for illegal immigrants making the crossing into the USA, or does it constitute a form of modern-day slavery? This research will determine that through its investigations into deontology, consequentialism, retributivism and anti-foundationalism that the industry is fundamentally founded on concepts that do not relate to justice and so its form of punishment cannot be justified but must rather be considered a form of slavery.

2013 Abstracts Stage 2

Am I Not a Man and a Brother? The Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: Great Britain’s Campaign for Human Equality

Can slavery be morally justified?
 Aristotle: Humans are not equal due to differing reasoning abilities. Slaves do not have a sufficient capacity to reason to warrant freedom. Slavery is in the best interest of the slave, the master and the polis.
 Augustine: Slavery is a form of punishment for original sin. Moral virtue can be increased as a result of being a slave to the body rather than to desires. God will reward slaves in heaven.
 Kant: All humans are equal. Slavery cannot be universalized without contradiction and treats humans as means to an end, thus it is immoral.

The importance of political freedom:
 Isaiah Berlin: The amount that society can interfere with an individual’s freedom depends on the natural rights theory of that society. Laws must conflict with a person’s natural rights to justify protest.
 Rawls: All humans have an equal claim to basic liberty and rights. Freedom is an inalienable basic right that slavery infringes upon.
Methods of political protest employed by abolitionists.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King Jr.)