Reflections on philosophy, science, religion, art and other stuff that matters to me, by Helen De Cruz
Public discussions on the ethics of our response to the pandemic often focus on lives. What often gets forgotten in these discussions is the broader question of ethical goods and how they are affected by the pandemic. With ethical goods, I mean things that contribute to a flourishing life, such as friendship, connection, a good relationship with family, and romantic attachments.
Marco Rubio famously claimed we need more welders than we do philosophers, presumably because the humanities are just icing on the cake. The basic idea of many western politicians is that we can only adequately fund the humanities and the educational structures that support it once we’ve taken care of all our other, presumably more basic, needs.
But, according to Midgley, this idea has things backwards. Philosophy’s not as a frivolity that we can occasionally indulge in once we’ve solved everything else. Rather, philosophy is a basic need that is fundamental to human social life.
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