About the Project – Ethics and Pandemic Relations

There have been as many plagues and wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people by surprise.  

(Albert Camus, The Plague)


PANDEMIC LIVES is a project concerned with Camus’ statement. Despite what the above quote seems to suggest, moral inquiry into the pandemic has never gained serious attention. Even in present-day, we are leaving behind the worst phase of the pandemic (it’s not done yet), and ethical discussions on the subject are incipient/embryonic. Perhaps one explanation for this is how we define pandemic and the moral elements around it. When we treat the pandemic as a contingent fact of human life, we would have little or nothing to say about it from the point of view of morality. The fundamental aspects of morality are not so relevant, and the discussion occurs in other scientific fields. However, if we understand the pandemic as a subject matter of morality, then the pandemic has features that moral theorists might scrutinize. As an object, it can be studied as a phenomenon that encompasses discussions about the ethical roles in preparedness, combating, and eradicating it. Another possibility is to take the pandemic as a locus loaded with moral phenomena. In this case, we slip into it and investigate how what I call pandemic relations occur in this specific context.

This project is interested in the latter and focuses on exploring the moral aspects of our pandemic lives. Here are some points that interest us:

  • The Pandemic Day: See how the day people realized they were face to face with COVID-19.

  • Two Moral Research Projects centered on two questions:

    A. What kind of moral features there is in our pandemic relations?
    B. From an evolutionary perspective, what are the normative aspects of human behavior in a pandemic?
  • Compendium on Pandemic Ethics (Routledge Press)

    in which moral theorists around the world shed light on it from different perspectives:
     Rationality and Moral Emotions
     Virtues and Traits of Character
     Social Arrangements and Moral Conflicts
     Post-pandemic life: some issues.
  • Updated “Pandemic Bibliography” covering the theme from different areas: justice, bioethics; moral psychology and behavior; social and political issues.

  • Podcast for those interested in literally hearing more about the subject.

  • Course material on “Moral Pandemic Relations” (work in progress)

      Check out the menu to learn in detail about each of these topics.

Kind request: there is an interactive aspect to the project, and you are more than welcome to contribute to the project. It’s a way of ourselves staying connected.

About Me

Evandro Barbosa

Professor of Philosophy at the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil;

Visiting Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA;  

Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) Fellow.

Current areas of interest:

# In this project: moral implications into our pandemic relations.

# General: Moral and political philosophy (theories of justice; responsibility and moral obligations; emotions and moral constructivism).