Posting About / During The Pandemic

Dear Readers,

The novel coronavirus pandemic is causing death, sickness, anxiety, stress, isolation, and major disruptions to work and to personal lives around the world. Many of you reading this are currently in very challenging circumstances, compounded by the now vivid uncertainty of what life will be like in the months to come. I wish you all the best during these difficult times.

Like many of you, I have asked myself what I should be doing during this time. I’m trying to stay in my home as much as possible now, so as to avoid catching the virus or transmitting it to others, I’ve checked in on some neighbors who might need some help (while maintaining a safe “social distance”), and I’ve made a modest donation to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Of course, I’ve been following the medical and political news about this a lot, trying to stay informed.

I’ve also been thinking about what I should be doing now with Daily Nous. Despite some requests, I have refrained from posting about general news and information regarding the pandemic because there are other, better news outlets for that and others with more expertise who can direct people to what in the mass of news and research is worth drawing attention to.

Instead, I’ve covered:

  • how philosophy departments and universities have been affected by the pandemic
  • suggestions for how to handle the various aspects of our jobs online, instead of in-person
  • concerns and speculation about how our professional environment may change as a result of the pandemic
  • how philosophy might help us think about or address aspects of the pandemic

I’ve tried to remember to tag these posts with “coronavirus” so you can see them here.

Some more posts in line with the above are in the works, and I am open to suggestions, either for specific topics to address within the categories above, or new categories to think about, or services I can provide in virtue of the reach of Daily Nous.

So consider this an invitation to you to share your ideas as to how I can make good use of DN during this time. You can do so in the comments or, if you prefer, by email to [email protected] (though please understand that I’ve been getting a fair amount of messages lately, and between that and other responsibilities, it may take me a little while to reply—my apologies to those currently waiting for emails back from me!).

I appreciate your help. Take care.



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Jonathan Fuller
2 years ago

I think gathering comments by philosophers about how to address the pandemic is a great initiative. Many of us want to find ways to make ourselves useful. I’d like to hear and talk more about how to sort out which public health measures will be effective (phil sci), the population vs. the individual perspective in an outbreak (phil sci and ethics), and on how philosophy can contribute/what it’s role should be during this time (meta-philosophy).Report

John Light
2 years ago

One resource I’d be keen to see is the various philosophical e-happenings. For example, I’ve seen on Facebook that some people are moving their graduate seminars online and disseminating with Zoom, and/or even opening them to other interested parties. It’d be kinda dope if I could sit in my house and “take” a cool seminar while I’m sitting here.

Or what else is going on? E-conferences? Online yoga courses? NYT posted yesterday on what we could read or do, but would be good to hear other offerings from our community!Report

2 years ago

We are going electronic here. I hope it works out!

Pete Mandik
2 years ago

I appreciate the philosophical covid content that has appeared here so far, and am happy to see more. However, please do not discount the need many of us have to take a break from the horrid shit-show that is our viral reality and read some non-covid content now and then. Thank you!Report

2 years ago

I’d like a post, maybe from a graduate director or graduate student(s) on how they imagine the pandemic will affect their future–the future generations of philosophers. Appreciate the content you’ve been putting out, though. Helpful and informative as always.Report

David Wallace
Reply to  Steve
2 years ago

I’m skeptical any such post would be more than entertainment, because right now no-one has any idea. This is all moving way too rapidly. Until we have some picture of what the medium-term social-distancing policy is going to look like and what the economic hit is going to be, it’s just guesswork. Ask again in a month.Report

grad student
grad student
Reply to  Steve
2 years ago

This piece discussing the fear-mongering social effects of posting photos of empty grocery shelves captures many of my worries about this kind of exercise:

Since many of us are currently full of anxiety and dread, absorbing more content about how this crisis will irreparably impact the careers of people who are already precariously positioned is a way to catastrophize and stoke fear on the basis of nothing but pure conjecture and opinion. The fact is, anything can happen, and nobody is certain about the effects this will have on our profession. Instead of posting about how journals will be overburdened and shuttered, and how the the job market will completely collapse, why not slam the brakes on the apocalypse literature and instead focus on reassuring each other? In the fallout of all this, what will securely employed members of the profession do to help advocate for the rest of us professionally? How can we help journal editors and reviewers, with minimal impact to people who are still on the tenure clock or to other precariously employed philosophers under publication pressure? Reframing the focus stops fear from propagating. What we need is more hope, and more solidarity as a profession. Not more fear.Report

2 years ago

Hi Folks,
Have you ever wondered how many of us are stranded by fellowship regulations? Guess what: you need to be a resident to enjoy this prestigious fellowship in bla bla, never mind you are not a citizen and your insurance will not cover Covid 19! Can we stop with the fluff and address the real, get your administrations to help people in need.Report

Patrick S. O'Donnell
2 years ago

Assuming some readers may have a bit more discretionary time during this pandemic, I have a fairly short syllabus that might interest some of you (there’s some history, science, politics, law, philosophy …). My only qualification (or ‘epistemic authority’) for this idiosyncratic compilation is an ardent amateur’s interest in public health (see, for example, the bibliography on ‘health’ as well as an essay, ‘Toward a philosophically sensitive definition of public health law,’ on my Academia page):
• Anand, Sudhir, Fabienne Peter, and Amartya Sen, eds. Public Health, Ethics, and Equity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
• Davis, Mike. The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2006.
• Fidler, David P. International Law and Public Health: Materials on and Analysis of Global Health Jurisprudence. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2000.
• Fidler, David P. International Law and Infectious Diseases. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
• Fidler, David P. SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
• Gostin, Lawrence O. Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000.
• Gostin, Lawrence O. Global Health Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.
• Gostin, Lawrence O., ed. Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
• Preston, Richard. Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come. New York: Random House, 2019.
• Quammen, David. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2012.
• Venkatapuram, Sridhar. Health Justice: An Argument from the Capabilities Approach. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2011.
• Wallace, Rob. Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Infectious Disease, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2016.
• Watts, Sheldon. Epidemics and History: Disease, Power and Imperialism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.Report

2 years ago

Man, I get enough COVID stuff everywhere else; I’m just here for the angry debates about academic freedom and identity politics. Stupid supermarket is out of microwaveable popcorn, though.

😉 🙂 😉 <3Report

Unforgivable Humor
Unforgivable Humor
2 years ago

Maybe do another one of those philosophical jokes threads? Here’s all I’ve got so far:

Well, now we know what it’s like to eat a bat.Report

Andrew Sepielli
2 years ago

I appreciate the tips about how to run conferences online, teach online, etc., about how to help those in need. This stuff is important, absolutely. But I think we also need to think, collectively, about how we can leverage our power, such as it is, to incentivize people to observe norms re: social distancing and the like. Maybe more posts of this nature would be good.Report