Hongyi Li: 'Have the courage to use your own reason'

May 24, 2019

Hongyi Li


Shanghai, China

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

The skill to clearly address my ideas and make arguments. This is part of the nature of a philosophical education–especially in the analytic tradition. When I found the presentation of my ideas abstruse, it was probably because I hadn’t fully understood my points, or my way of explanation was problematic – maybe the language was too metaphorical, or included too much jargon. Most of deep thoughts can be presented in a clear and distinct way, which is very helpful for further discussion.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

Professor Derk Pereboom and Professor Michelle Kosch. I took five classes with them, and am writing a senior thesis under their supervision. They largely shaped my philosophical interests (in Kant, Post-Kantian European Philosophy and Philosophy of Action) and influenced my decision to pursue graduate studies in philosophy.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

“Have the courage to use your own reason.” It takes effort to rebel against easy conformism, but it is worth it.

Hongyi Li