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The Pandemic Ethics and the ‘Republic of Letters’: what epistemic virtues do we need right now?

Journal: The Digital Scholar: Philosopher’s Lab (Vol.3, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 17-29

Keywords : pandemic; virtue epistemology; biohacking; bioethics; ethnoontology; coronavirus; fluid objects;

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The article considers the prospect of a new ‘republic of letters' in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike the ‘republic of letters' that existed during Renaissance and Enlightenment, the new international community of researchers is built on the basis of common problems and affairs (res), rather than cognitive interests of the public. Nevertheless, certain cognitive and intellectual virtues may also be required from researchers in order to overcome the three types of risks associated with the formation of a new community. Each type of risk is described in a separate section of the article. Respectively in each section we disclose epistemic virtues necessary to minimize the risks, as well as provide examples of research practices in which these virtues are manifested. For example, the ability of social research to cognize fluid objects, such as viruses, may help to overcome danger of imprisoning in ‘ivory tower'. The virtues of openness and curiosity valued by biohackers help to cope with the threats of structural epistemic injustice. Intellectual courage and modesty, which allow bioethicists to criticize judgments that claim to be universal, help to overcome expert conformity.

Last modified: 2020-09-03 22:31:10