Letter of invitation for a humanistic discussion

Esteemed colleagues:

Today, we are confronted with the epidemic of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which has engulfed the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic does not discriminate by countries, cultures, identities, or political regimes. The countries are dealing with it to the best of abilities proving, thus, their maturity within the entire spectrum of politics, culture, and economy. This, in turn, discloses the relation towards values that give civilizational and ethical meaning to the individual as well as to a society.

What does solidarity mean? Are we attentive and sensitive enough to recognize, to see and to hear different vulnerable groups? What is the value of human life? These are the questions that require addressing in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Whenever a crisis revealing our vulnerability arises, the need resurfaces for a humanistic articulation of the discussion regarding the quality not only of the present, but also of the future mode of existence. Scholars, researchers, and other stakeholders within various fields of the humanities are being summoned to re-consider and to call into common awareness the values, which we have, before the crisis, often and readily egoistically pushed into the background, and which form the necessary fundament for a conscious and conscientious relation towards ourselves and our world.

We would, therefore, hereby like to cordially invite you to contribute your thoughts, opinions, and observations regarding different aspects of the circumstances of COVID-19 crisis to be published on the website of the Forum for the Humanities (FORhUM).

Please send your texts to the following address:

We would namely like to establish a forum for a humanistic discussion, which could be of a cultural as well as of a civilizational value today and in the future.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Tomaž Zalaznik

Peter Hanenberg / 26. 5. 2020

It is not uncommon for politics and the media to refer to crises as wars. It helps frame the situation and concentrate efforts on fighting a cause, the more so as this cause is a living organism with an identity: Sars-CoV 2.


Werner Wintersteiner / 25. 5. 2020

Times of crisis are moments of learning. They are therefore also times of political dispute: What is the significance of the events? Which measures have proven effective? How should things continue after the crisis?


Babette Babich / 25. 5. 2020

There is tremendous disquiet all around — enough for a lifetime and a half, lived and unlived. But in this time of crisis, scholars otherwise keen to pick through Heidegger’s Nazi enabling complicity, attuned to what he said or wrote — or failed to say or failed to write — find themselves repeating currently standard government edicts.


Bernhard Waldenfels / 14. 5. 2020

Ein überraschend auftretender Virus ist etwas, das uns widerfährt, bevor das Für und Wider einsetzt. Wie kann man davon reden, ohne es wegzureden? Was kann ein Philosoph dazu beisteuern?


Jean Grondin25. 5. 2020

For intellectuals and academics, at least those blessed with relatively good health, the lockdown is not necessarily a major inconvenience, nor all that unusual. Descartes conducted his meditations isolated, or alone with God, by his fireplace. Our own secular age is now rediscovering the virtues of monasticism.


Erhard Busek / 12. 5. 2020

I think the first step should be to analyze, which right and wrong directions we are within the discussion of the corona crises. I would say, there were a lot of wrong comparisons for example to compare it with the results of the World War II.


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Forum for the Humanities (FORhUM) operates under the auspices of Institute Nova Revija for the Humanities (INR; Ljubljana, Slovenia), the activities of which are financially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS; Ljubljana, Slovenia) within the research program P6-0341, the research project J7-8283, and infrastructure program I0-0036.