COVID-19: Approaching the In-Human

Contours: Journal of the SFU Humanities Institute (10):1-10 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


What the COVID-19 pandemic serves to reveal is the inherent limitations and contradictions of a symbolic order that must now be perceived via an “impossible subjectivity”: what this essay will refer to as the “in-human.” (Zizek, 2020). Indeed, this in-human perspective transpires not through our fetishization of the virus, as some form of justification for humanity’s impact on the world, but from a position of impossibility that renders “the whole situation into which we are included.” (Monbiot, 2020; Zizek, 2020). It is on this basis that the virus confers a confrontation with the Real: an antagonism steered by the isolation of an “impossible phenomenon,” grounded in a certain level of “disengagement” that obliges us to “perceive reality as it were viewed from outside.” (Zizek, 2020). Importantly, this “view from outside” does not—and now, cannot—avoid our engagement with the impossible, but must instead be rendered via a form of approachment that conceives of the “virus” as an in-human phenomenon that is our universal condition. The following sections will serve to clarify this in-human approach.

Author's Profile

Jack Black
Sheffield Hallam University


Added to PP

82 (#65,406)

6 months
19 (#63,945)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?