HUMANISTIC DISCUSSION

Peter Hanenberg / 26. 5. 2020

As a contribution to the debate, I would like to quote my colleague Ana Margarida Abrantes who wrote the following reflection:

“This is not a war

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. This rhetoric however may be as misleading as when it was used in the aftermath of September 11, when war on terrorism was declared. Although the enemy has better contours now – a virus –, when President Macron says we are at war he does so to justify measures to control citizens’ social behaviour, rather than to fight the virus. Politics can do just that: make hard decisions to ensure the common good. The virus is up to doctors and scientists to fight: doctors fight for their patients, scientists search for ways to fight the virus. The powerful metaphor entailed in “this is a war” may also fuel reactions such as hoarding (notoriously of toilet paper and pasta) in Europe or stocking up guns in the US. Neither are good means to kill a virus, but both lay bare fundamental differences in the way these two societies are built. In Europe, the collective experience of war clashes with the consumption and hedonistic economic models of the post-war period, but in both, we may find a justification for the impulse, the reflex to stockpile. In the US, citizens are buying guns out of fear of other citizens, who have always been chronically disadvantaged and who in a crisis mode might be tempted to claim what they feel is righteously theirs. The two interpretations of the common Western neoliberal organization are evidently different. This difference will ultimately decide who lives and who dies, but in different ways: in Europe because of shortage of resources (medical and human) in result of successive disinvestment in common infrastructure in favour of more appealing sectors of the economy; in the US because of unequal access to medical care.

In any case, the situation we are currently living is a pandemic, not a war. And if one should insist on the metaphor, it is useful to think of Syria, where the corona meets an actual war that has raged for 9 years, no end in sight.”

More…

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.

More…

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?

More…

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.

More…

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.

More…

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?

More…

Institute Nova Revija for the Humanities

Vodovodna cesta 101
1000 Ljubljana
Slovenia

Telephone:
+386 12444560
+386 12444587 (Andrej Božič)

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.