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Applied Ethics Forum: Rima Basu

March 25 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

‘Forget it’
Rima Basu (Claremont McKenna College)
Friday 25 March 2022  •  2:30pm–4:30pm  • LA1–300

Abstract: We have an interest in what others believe of us; we also have an interest in what others forget. Forgetting not only plays an important role in our interpersonal lives (e.g., it is central to many accounts of forgiveness), but the right to be forgotten has also become enshrined in European law. Nevertheless, there has been little philosophical discussion of the importance of forgetting. As surprising as it is that we can make demands that others forget what they know about us, I argue that there are important moral goods that a duty to forget preserves. Whereas we used to be able to rely on the fragility of human memory and the physical limitations of data storage systems, like ink and paper, so the shadows of our past wouldn’t necessarily constrain our futures; our identities are now distributed in information patterns online that can’t be changed. A world that is structured such that we cannot forget undermines our ability to guide the relationships that are important to us and constitute ourselves in ways that we intend. There is much work to be done to articulate the shape and requirements of this duty before we potentially lose it forever as the internet preserves more and more of our lives. This talk is a first step towards that.



March 25
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:




Nick Laskowski