Kenneth’s Column

I’m a Second Year Philosophy student, and I write regularly for Pharos as a columnist. I have strong interest in logic, Chinese philosophy and philosophy of language, and most of all, ethics. Specifically, I am interested in moral / conceptual problems surrounding forgiveness. 

Despite appearances, this is an exceptionally broad topic. What is forgiveness? When should we forgive? What does it mean to forgive political bodies? Can we think we’ve forgiven someone when we actually haven’t? What about the converse? These are all questions that I am interested in approaching.

Practically speaking, forgiveness is a huge part of our daily moral lives; yet, we barely ever see it being talked about in classical Western philosophy.

We have lots of literature on how to determine wrongdoing, but our discourse on what to do once we’ve been wronged is sadly lacking. To me, forgiveness is like a brave new world just waiting for us to explore, and that just makes it all the more exciting for me. 

My favourite philosopher is Derek Parfit. He’s not exactly a household name, but I genuinely believe that he will go down in history as one of the greatest philosophers of the 21st century. His central thesis in normative ethics was that our different moral theories, in their best forms, actually lead to the same conclusions – in his words, our various traditions in ethics have never really been at odds with each other at all, but rather just ‘climb the same mountain from different sides’. His method of argument is systematic and rigorous – it’s almost mathematical in its process and form, without ever compromising on the accessibility that comes with ordinary language. This method of philosophising is one that I seek to emulate in my writing, both in my academic endeavours and in my contributions to Pharos. 

Reading Parfit has been a major source of inspiration for me, and it is my hope as a columnist that you’ll find something that piques your interest as well. I look forward to sharing my musings with you!