STOCKTAKING IN THE TIME OF A PANDEMIC
Atypical Philosophical, Theological, and Other Observations
This article first discusses a possible meta-framework within which ethical, philosophical, theological, socio-cultural, and other perspectives on COVID-19 can be formulated and evaluated, making a heuristic distinction between the event (here, the pandemic) as a non-negotiable ‘core’ and the event as a ‘text’ open to interpretation, each with its own ethical implications. One’s response to the event is a function of the interpretive framework adopted. The article goes on to argue that human subjects interpret events against a long-temporal hermeneutic horizon. After distinguishing between a religious and a secular understanding of the phenomenon (from an ethical perspective, a 'perplexing randomness' seems to set apart what is unfolding now from occurrences in the Biblical world), it makes a case for an ecological ethic in the context of religious naturalism. The current situation appears to mark an interregnum – or, hopefully, a new beginning – in a naturalistic Lebenswelt marked by impunity and farcical functioning. The article concludes with an exploration of ethical choice amid extreme experience.
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