Kent Ethics Seminar on “Know Thyself”

Patrizia Pedrini, Senior Researcher at the University of Geneva is to give a talk, “Know Thyself”, or How Not to Turn Ethics of Office Accountability into a Little (or Big) Nightmare, on Tuesday, 14 November between 15.30 and 17.00.

This hybrid event is open to all and will take place in KS24 at the Canterbury campus. For zoom link, please contact event host Prof Lumobira Radoilska (

This talk explores pitfalls of an exercise of the duties (and the connected rights) of office accountability which can occur when such exercise is not adamantly based on the duty of self-knowledge of officeholders. In particular, the talk argues that self-knowledge has constitutive second-personal aspects in so far as its performance is ethically required given our mutual accountability and our normative vulnerability to each other. Whilst vulnerability and mutuality hold in the domain of general ethics and personal relationships, the domain of institutional ethics, where the ethics of office accountability holds, is not exception. Qua occupants of roles in public institutions, officeholders are interrelated and ethically interdependent. For this reason, not only should officeholders be mutually sensitive to, and where necessary vigilant about, their interrelated ethical performance when acting in their institutional capacity, but they should also be very sensitive to, and vigilant about, the ethical quality of claims they make on each other. In order to make sure that their mutual claims are ethically justified, well-balanced, and judicious, they ought to first make sure that the motivation behind the practice of office accountability is ethically legitimate to the performance of their institutional duties. Self-knowledge regarding one’s motivation is thus key to ethics of office accountability.

Dr Pedrini is the author of two monographs, one on self-knowledge (Prima persona. Epistemologia dell’autoconoscenza, ETS 2009) and the other of self-deception (L’autoinganno. Che cos’è e come funziona, Laterza 2013), and co-edited Third-Person Self-Knowledge, Self-Interpretation, and Narrative (Springer 2018).