Evan Frook headshot Q: What do you like about being an humanities grad student?

A: It may sound recycled, but the breadth of learning. I've the utmost respect for the precision of scholars in, say, computer science or medicine, but as a philosopher I adore starting the day with questions about free will, turning to ethical thought experiments by afternoon, and spending the evening reading about the origin of legal authority, or the nature of time, or whether all really is water. Karl Popper even calls specialization a mortal philosophical sin.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: I remain quite concerned with the morality of interpersonal forgiveness. I reject that forgiveness requires punishment, reimbursement, or something of that ilk, but am not tempted all the way to the position that forgiveness is an unconditional good that should be extended with only minimal prerequisite. I'm trying to figure out which condition(s) must be fulfilled for forgiveness to be appropriate, and how the offender ought be treated in the meantime.

Q: What in your field most excites you?

A: That ever-flowing optimism of moral progress; the idea that through good philosophy everyone can get closer to living a moral life, and that since philosophy builds on itself, we are perpetually closer than ever before to that aim. Of course, there will always be instances of reactive regression and rearguard maneuvers to defend obsolete norms (indeed there has been some of this in philosophy recently), but I hope and believe that these are doomed to fail.

Q: If you rubbed a lamp and a genie appeared to grant a wish, what would it be?

A:  A light.

*Evan Frook was named an Incoming Student Fellow for AY 20-21.