Spinoza on Covid Consensus

“A common basis for harmony is fear, but that sort of harmony is without trust, and it isn’t based on reason, because fear arises from weakness of mind and so has nothing to do with the exercise of reason. (Nor does pity, though it looks like morality.)” Spinoza, Ethics, Book IV, 16 app.

Does Medicine Take Care Away From People?

I just finished reading the thought-provoking Hermeneutics of Medicine and the Phenomenology of Health by Professor Fredrik Svenaeus (Södertörn University).

One thing I found interesting in relation with the Covid situation, is, since Svenaeus relates health with homelikeness (in Heideggerian fashion), I wonder what this notion of health becomes when people are confined in their homes, whether they are considered ill or not. Of course, the first is a metaphorical meaning of home, but still…

I also read Ylva Söderfeldt’s (my colleague at Uppsala University) equally interesting article in Curie, and the ideas of the hegemony of “medical reasons” and of medicine as “secular religion” reminded me, by association of ideas, of Slöterdijk’s book You Must change Your Life which is a personal (and pompously verbose if interesting) take on Foucault’s technologies of the self. The reflexion I take from Ylva’s article is that the dominant paradigm of medicine as secular religion is We Must Save Your Life. In other words, care might be taken away from people until they die.

This resonates with Svenaeus quoting Heidegger (p. 159-160):

“Even ‘taking care’ of feeding and clothing, the nursing of the sick body is concern…. With regard to its positive modes, concern has two extreme possibilities. It can, so to speak, take the other’s ‘care’ away from him and put itself in his place of taking care, it can leap in for him… In contrast to this, there is the possibility of a concern which does not so much leap in for the other as leap ahead of him in his existential possibility to be. Not in order to take ‘care’ away from him, but in the first place to give it back to him as such.” [Heidegger, Sein und Zeit.]

How can medicine, instead of taking care, co-create care as agency?

Health as a philosophical issue – Unesco Round table with Luis de Miranda

To celebrate World Philosophy Day 2020, four high-level round tables will be organized online on November 19 and 20 with eminent philosophers from all regions, who will be invited to reflect on the meaning of the current pandemic from different tools and philosophical perspectives.

The third round table “Health as a philosophical issue” will take place on Friday 20 November from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. (Paris time):

The ancient question of what health consists of, which has occupied philosophers since antiquity, takes on a new twist in the face of a pandemic which, more so than the plague at La Fontaine, affects including those it does not reach. But it does not affect all equally: thinking about health at the level of a society poses essential questions of inequalities and fractures.


– Bjorn Morten Hofman (Norway): researcher in the philosophy of medicine, professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Gjøvik and  adjunct professor at the Centre for medical ethics at the University of Oslo

Luis de Miranda (France): philosopher and writer, researcher at the Center for Medical Humanities at Uppsala University, philosophical counselor at The Philosophical Parlour, Stockholm.

Paulina Rivero Weber (Mexico) : philosopher, responsible of the bioethics Center at the Autonomous University of Mexico

Moderator: Eleonora Lamm, Consultant in bioethics at UNESCO, PHD in law and bioethics from the University of Barcelona.

Simultaneous English / French interpretation will be provided.

Join the webinar