The Ethics of Speculative Anticipation and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Hypatia 36 (1):228-236 (2021)
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This paper explores the role of speculative anticipation in ethics during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a structure to think about ethical decision-making in times of extreme uncertainty. We identify three different but interwoven domains within which speculative anticipation can be found: global, local, and projective anticipation. Our analysis aims to open possibilities of seeing the situatedness of others both locally and globally in order to address larger social issues that have been laid bare by the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Our account of speculative anticipation builds on the analyses of the gendered impact of anticipation in technoscience by Vincanne Adams, Michelle Murphy and Adele Clarke; studies in cultural anthropology by Ann Laura Stoler; and the recent research on speculative fiction by Esther Jones. Like theirs, ours is intended to be useful. We offer it as a tool to recast questions and revisit assumptions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hoped that by using the frame of the ethics of speculative anticipation, one might be able to consider how to avoid those futures that reproduce inequity, and instead actively and responsibly envision those futures that are informed by equity and sustainability.

Author's Profile

Catherine Elizabeth Kendig
Michigan State University


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