Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Boyne the philosopher

Published:Friday | December 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM


It was almost four years ago, January 2, 2014, to be precise, that I wrote a letter to the editor paying homage to Ian Boyne for the deep analysis and depth of research contained in his Sunday columns. What did I say then?

I believe with his passing the following quotations from that letter are instructive.

"Ian Boyne's articles reflect a philosophical bent, which is both illuminating and inspiring, and a must-read for aspiring philosophers of whatever genre."

"Boyne's examination of philosophical models reveals a love for wisdom, which, of course, is the ideal that the philosopher strives for. May he always be brought to mind through the pages of The Gleaner".

I never thought in my wildest dreams that his tenure on this Earth would have been brought to such an abrupt end, at the relatively young age of 60 years. But such is life.

Because of our shared love for matters of philosophy, I had intended to respond to his article of June 18, 2017, titled 'Why philosophy matters', in which he made some salient points as to what motivates us as individuals and as a people. He had asked questions, philosophical in nature, but having wide-ranging sociological implications for good governance for our island home. These questions remain with us and will remain long after his passing. The socially conscious person that he was, he had asked questions that most of us constantly wrestle with. Should a person who lives in a Beverly Hills or Stony Hill home and who has three BMW X6s and a Porsche be lionised for his success and glowingly featured on our social pages? Or should that person feel ashamed for displaying so much extravagance while people are starving and children are dying because they can't afford life-saving medical treatment?


Should a celebrity who has assets of US$60 million and gives away only US$5 million really feel proud of his philanthropy? What is the moral basis for a government forcibly taking a large chunk of a person's income just because he is rich and that government deems that he has a moral duty to pay a higher percentage under progressive taxation?

In the style of Socrates the Greek philosopher, Boyne would have been well aware and sympathetic to the saying that "the unexamined life is not worth living". It was his very nature to be questioning, and like Socrates, he was cognisant of the fact that correct answers were not easy to come by.

The man's religious leanings, his need to seek after truth and his service to God and country will serve him in good stead for the life hereafter. Like Epicurus, another Greek philosopher who said 300 years before Christ was born, "Let not the young delay in studying philosophy or the old grow weary of its study, for whether young or old, it is good for the soul."

May his soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon him.

Roger Perkins

Spanish Town

St Catherine