Department of Philosophy



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Kerah Gordon-Solmon has organized a special discussion on COVID-19 on the site PEA (for Philosophy, Ethics, Academia) Soup. The discussion features philosophers Alec Walen, Sophia Moreau, and Christian Barry, and has provoked a lively conversation in the PEA Soup community. The participants discuss the ethics of either continuing or ending stay-at-home orders: Unless a society has completely eradicated the COVID-19 virus in its borders, any decision to re-open that society from the stay-at-home orders that were common, at least across the U.S., in April, will accelerate the spread of the virus. This will likely have deadly effects. A protracted shut down may also take a large toll on human life, and the justification for reopening could be framed in terms of maximum lives saved. But in the near-term, the justification for opening up must appeal to the importance of avoiding costs other than loss of life, such as unemployment, poverty and the psychological stress of isolation. Can opening up in the near term be justified in that way? If so, how?