2021-01Thematic Section
Which School of Ancient Greco-Roman Philosophy is Most Appropriate for Life in a Time of COVID-19?

Abstract:

The author argues that ancient Skepticism may be most suited to deal with two crises in the Age of COVID-19: both the physical or epidemiological aspects of the pandemic, and the epistemological and ethical crisis of increasing disbelief in the sciences. Following Michel Bitbol, I suggest one way to mitigate this crisis of faith may be for science to become more epistemically modest, renouncing some of its claims to describe reality as it objectively is, and adopting an “intransitive” rather than a “transitive” approach to Nature. This was the attitude adopted by the Greco-Roman medical school of the Empirics, which may also be of assistance in combatting the urgent problem of Fake News. The epistemology of Skepticism and the scientific methodology of the closely related Medical Empiricism shows that an epistemically modest, non-interventionist approach to science is quite compatible with a robust and sophisticated proto-experimental scientific methodology.

Keywords:

COVID-19, Fake News, Skepticism, Greek medicine, epistemology, methodology of science, Pierre Hadot, ancient philosophy, environmentalism, Buddhism, phenomenology

How to cite:

Chase, Michael. “Which School of Ancient Greco-Roman Philosophy is Most Appropriate for Life in a Time of COVID-19?” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 1 (2021): 7-31. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0002.

Author:

Michael Chase
CNRS Centre Jean Pépin/UMR 8320/ENS/PSL,
7 rue Rue Guy Môquet BP n°8, 94800 Villejuif, Paris, France;
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science,
Boltzmannstraße 22 14195 Berlin, Germany
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9255-5721
chasemike780@gmail.com

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