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Book description

Could the Covid-19 pandemic be forging new kinds of bonds in human relations?

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Living in pandemic times is like having the Sword of Damocles hanging over our necks each day. This situation has led to significant changes in our family, work, and social relationships, so answering the question above requires that we undertake a critical examination of the moral factors present in it. And although a wide range of philosophical discussions have mapped out some of the ethical issues related to the pandemic, one thing that seems to have been overlooked is that human relations themselves have a prominent place as an object of study for ethicists. Our intention in this book is to bring into focus novel questions about how relations during pandemic times shape our moral behavior, attitudes, and judgments. The contributors have all been experiencing the pandemic in widely varying contexts across the planet. Their explorations of the moral content at the heart of our relationships can help us all to unfold what I call pandemic relations and to understand in depth the implications of this new (provisional or not) social dynamic for morality.

The COVID-19 pandemic, whose consequences will be felt in the long term, can be interpreted as a signal that we have been living in a pandemic age. A pandemic is humanity’s common ground, so the moral problems inherent in it are of interest to everyone from now on. It brought a set of moral challenges that cannot be ignored. 

This book – which emerged amid the novel coronavirus crisis – is designed to fill the gap in the current literature on the topic, offering an original approach to its moral implications. It can be taken as a guide in the face of these pandemic-age challenges for human relations.

The pandemic is a multifaceted phenomenon, and its debate involves a wide variety of practical philosophical concerns. All the chapters of this book, divided into four sections, aim to clarify its central aspects, while each chapter provides an original approach to the debate’s leading issues and relies on each most significant collaborator’s expertise. Also, they reflect their unique pandemic experiences under the scrutiny of philosophical unrest.

Since the pandemic is an ongoing event, Moral Challenges in a Pandemic Age will be of interest to professors, students, and researchers engaged in understanding the ethical dimension of the age we are experiencing. The problems addressed in this collection transcend the boundaries of the philosophical field, offering an innovative approach to individuals keen on discussing the pandemic from a moral point of view. Such a discussion encompasses the philosophical inquiry but is not restricted to it. Those interested in related areas such as psychology, sociology, biology, public health, education, anthropology, and cultural studies – to name a few – will find connections with parallel themes in this book. In addition, the collection brings a theoretically supported approach to several related debates in a language accessible to anyone who wants to know more about the topic.

The discussions presented here focus on pivotal issues about the moral implications of the relationships established within the 21st century’s first devastating pandemic. Like it or not, humanity may be subject to similar situations in the future, and we hope that this book sheds light on the importance of analyzing why these kinds of interactions, at their most diverse levels, should constitute the core of contemporary moral discussions. Before trying to (re)create our social bonds, we need to understand how they have been altered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The points here are but a first attempt to answer the question initially raised. Nevertheless, we expect they will find an echo in future debates among those interested in the subject.

Table of contents  

Foreword Maxwell J. Smith

1. The pandemic age: An overview Evandro Barbosa

Part 1: Rationality and moral emotions

2. On the moral psychology of the pandemic agent Anneli Jefferson and Lisa Bortolotti 

3. Feeling lonely: Toward a phenomenological account of loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic Flavio Williges  

4. From fear to anger: An investigation of the relationship between negative emotions and populism in the context of COVID-19 Matheus Mesquita Silveira

5. “Nobody makes it alone”: Toward a relational view of resilience Martina Orlandi   

Part 2: Virtues and traits of character

6. The COVID-19 pandemic and the language of virtues Denis Coitinho

7. An alternative model of ethics for global crises: Confucian relationism Jana S. Rošker  

8. Danse macabre: Levity and morality in a plague year Simone Gubler

9. Well-being in the time of COVID-19 Mauro Rossi   

Part 3: Social arrangements and moral conflicts  

10. Delving into denialism: Rationality, emotion, value, and trust in social context Leonardo de Mello Ribeiro  

11. COVID rule breakers and the social contract Peter R. Anstey  

12. Chance, consent, and COVID-19 Ryan Doody

13. Allocation of scarce intensive care units in COVID-19 and ageism Alcino Eduardo Bonella

Part 4: After COVID-19 life: Some moral issues

14. Faces of responsibility and moral agency in a pandemic age Evandro Barbosa and Thaís Alves Costa

15. Community, care, and social recognition in a post-COVID world of work Joshua Preiss  

16. The emerging field of pandemic ethics Marcelo de Araujo