Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Reformation: Are Some People Incapable of It?

In my last post, I explored the possibility and process of redemption, using Eugene Francois Vidocq as an example. Having confirmed that people can reform and how that takes place, I’ve begun exploring a related possibility; are there people who are simply incapable of reforming?

I explored this question through discussions with other classmates. One fellow told me two stories, the first being about two friends of his. Both of these people had struggled with drug addiction, but only one of them ultimately sought help. In my last article, I discovered that the key to reformation was experiencing an epiphany of some sort; an event or even a moment that would make the person in question realize the error of their ways. It seems that only one of these two people experienced such an epiphany, despite both of them having similar flaws. One of them must have gone somewhere or done something different from his friend that exposed him to the necessary inspiring moment.

The second story I was told was about a man who incessantly speeded on the road. His reckless behavior got his license suspended, but once he got it back, he was right back to driving dangerously. One could say that the suspension of his license should have been an epiphany. Perhaps this man even viewed that event as such and planned to change his ways, but once he was back behind a wheel, he couldn’t help himself but to continue endangering himself and others on the road. Perhaps this man’s lust for fast driving overpowered the potential for reformation within him. Others like this man may just have feelings of lust or greed that are irrepressible. This would answer my new question; some people simply lack the mentality or willpower necessary to acknowledge the epiphany leading to redemption.

This leads me to another question that I want to hear your thoughts on. Should people incapable of redemption be removed from society, ie, sent to prison for life? Is it worth giving people multiple chances in the hope that they’ll eventually feel an epiphany and change their ways, or is it not worth the drain on resources and risk to the well-being of others? Leave your thoughts in a response below.


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