Philosophy in a Time of Pandemic

A very timely piece written by AIMI board member Garrett Riggs, MD, PhD.

Most people think of philosophy — to the extent they think about it at all — as an intellectual, academic field with little practical application.

Coronavirus is about to change that.  If the worst predictions about the pandemic become reality, Americans in particular are going to have an abrupt encounter with difficult choices that philosophers have been thinking about for centuries. 

The decisions we may face already provoke great uncertainty, and as a species, we humans do not tolerate uncertainty well.  It is sometimes helpful if we can at least articulate the source of our anxiety in order to discuss it.  This is one area where philosophy can help give a name to what we are feeling. 

This essay is not a scholarly article, nor is it really an article on ethics or philosophy.  It is a brief review of some core concepts in medical ethics, and an introduction to the names of the conflicts we may soon face. 

Read Article (PDF)

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