COVID-19 Pandemic – Philosophical Approaches

Drobeta Turnu Severin: MultiMedia Publishing (2020)
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The paper begins with a retrospective of the debates on the origin of life: the virus or the cell? The virus needs a cell for replication, instead the cell is a more evolved form on the evolutionary scale of life. In addition, the study of viruses raises pressing conceptual and philosophical questions about their nature, their classification, and their place in the biological world. The subject of pandemics is approached starting from the existentialism of Albert Camus and Sartre, the replacement of the exclusion ritual with the disciplinary mechanism of Michel Foucault, and about the Gaia hypothesis, developed by James Lovelock and supported in the current pandemic by Bruno Latour. The social dimensions of pandemics, their connection to global warming, which has led to an increase in infectious diseases, and the deforestation of large areas, which have caused viruses to migrate from their native area (their "reservoir") are highlighted below. The ethics of pandemics is approached from several philosophical points of view, of which the most important in a crisis of such global dimensions is utilitarianism which involves maximizing benefits for society in direct conflict with the usual (Kantian) view of respect for people as individuals. After a retrospective of the COVID-19 virus that caused the current pandemic, its life cycle and its history, with an emphasis on the philosophy of death, the concept of biopower initially developed by Foucault is discussed, with reference to the practice of modern states of control of the populations and the debate generated by Giorgio Agamben who states that what is manifested in this pandemic is the growing tendency to use the state of emergency as a normal paradigm of government. An interesting and much debated approach is the one generated by the works of Slavoj Žižek, who states that the current pandemic has led to the bankruptcy of the current "barbaric" capitalism, wondering if the path that humanity will take is a neo-communism. Another important negative effect is desocialization, with the conclusion of some philosophers that we cannot exist independently of our relationships with others, that a person's humanity depends on the humanity of those around him. The last section is dedicated to forecasting what the world will look like after the pandemic, and there are already signs of a paradigm shift, including the sudden disappearance of the "wall" ideology: a cough was enough to make it suddenly impossible to avoid the responsibility that every individual has it towards all living beings for the simple fact that he is part of this world, and of the desire to be part of it. The whole is always involved in part, because everything is, in a sense, in everything and in nature there are no autonomous regions that are an exception. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to restore the supremacy that once belonged to politics. One of the virtues of the virus is its ability to generate a more sober idea of ​​freedom: to be free means to do what needs to be done in a specific situation. CONTENTS: Abstract Introduction 1 Viruses 1.1 Ontology 2 Pandemics 2.1 Social dimensions 2.2 Ethics 3 COVID-19 3.1 Biopolitics 3.2 Neocommunism 3.3 Desocialising 4 Forecasting Bibliography DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31039.74405/1

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Nicolae Sfetcu
Romanian Academy


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