What happens when subjects are deprived of intersubjective contact? This paper looks closely at the phenomenology and psychology of one example of that deprivation: solitary conﬁnement. It also puts the phenomenology and psychology of solitary conﬁnement touse in the legal context. Not only is there no consensus on whether solitary conﬁnement is a “cruel and unusual punishment,” there is no consensus on the deﬁnition of the term “cruel” in the use of that legal phrase. I argue that we can ﬁnd a moral consensus on the meaning of “cruelty” by looking speciﬁcally at the phenomenology and psychology of solitary conﬁnement.