Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

72 - Grief in the Time of a Pandemic

Lots of people are dying right now. But people die all the time. How should we respond to all this death? In this episode I talk to Michael Cholbi about the philosophy of grief. Michael Cholbi is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely in ethical theory, practical ethics, and the philosophy of death and dying. We discus the nature of grief, the ethics of grief and how grief might change in the midst of a pandemic.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesTopics discussed include... What is grief?What are the different forms of grief?Is grief always about death?Is grief a good thing?Is grief a bad thing?Does the cause of death make a difference to grief?How does the COVID 19 pandemic disrupt grief?What are the politics of grief?Will future societies memorialise the deaths of people in the pandemic?  Relevant LinksMichael's HomepageRegret, Resilience and the Nature of Grief by MichaelFinding the Good in Grief by MichaelGrief's Rationality, Backward and Forward by MichaelCoping with Grief: A Series of Philosophical Disquisitions by meGrieving alone — coronavirus upends funeral rites (Financial Times)Coronavirus: How Covid-19 is denying dignity to the dead in Italy (BBC)Why the 1918 Spanish flu defied both memory and imagination100 years later, why don’t we commemorate the victims and heroes of [More]

FUTURES Podcast - Cyborg or Virtual Utopia?

It's probably time for a short break from all the COVD-19 related posts. So here's a new podcast interview I did with Luke Robert Mason from the Futures Podcast. This was recorded in a hotel room in London back in early January of 2020 -- back when the world was a very different place. It's not really my place to say this but I think it is one of the better interviews I did about my book Automation and Utopia.It mainly focuses on the ideas from the last two chapters of the book. Luke clearly took the time to familiarise himself with the nuances of the book and asks some great questions as a result. I'm grateful to him for taking the time to put this together.You can listen here or in the video above. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the [More]

3 pandemic predictions from Lucretius

The global spread of the coronavirus has forced us to confront our own mortality, and fears about illness and death weigh heavily on the minds of many.But there’s a risk that fear for our own life will outweigh fear for the collective to the extent that, however unwittingly, we start to act in a way that causes harm to the collective - the global phenomenon of panic-buying is an obvious example.As early as the first century BC, Roman philosopher Lucretius predicted that humanity’s fear of death could drive us to irrational beliefs and actions that would harm society. And as COVID-19 sweeps across the globe, three of his key predictions are coming true.Prediction one: being afraid of death corrupts our subjective experience of life.Lucretius made the case that people aren’t afraid of death unless there’s an immediate danger of dying; it’s when illness or danger strike that we get scared and strive to understand what comes after death.The goal then becomes alleviating these fears. Some [More]

How to do the right thing in a pandemic

The world has become a lot more dangerous and uncertain. We have not seen a pandemic the likes of COVID-19 for a century. Within three short months over 250,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus, while hundreds of thousands more are infected and undiagnosed. Naturally people are looking to scientists to provide answers for how we can and should respond to this pandemic.Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has capitalised on this by seeking to dress his political decisions in the veneer of science. He has consistently referred to his ‘scientific’ and ‘evidence-based’ approach to justify his political decisions. He has enlisted the chief medical and scientific advisers to accompany him in speeches and interviews to reinforce this framing.Yet, despite this, many people have cogently criticised the UK for lagging behind our European neighbours and for essentially getting the science wrong. And it is true that the behavioural psychologists who have played a role in shaping the [More]