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2020 - A year to remember or forget ?

Editorial - SHARE 14

Many people have been constantly following and posting on social media to comment about all the upheaval caused by Covid-19 during the year while expressing their hopes for an imminent return to normality. But the painful images of the Covid-19 experienced during the year - deserted places during lock-down, people wearing masks, mass coffins lined up for burials without funerals - will remain stuck in human memory for years to come.

In this fourteenth edition of SHARE magazine we asked various philosophers and academics to express their views on how philosophy can help humanity to cope with the exigencies of such a crisis. From the insightful answers that have been offered from a very broad perspective, I would like to offer my own personal reflections.

It cannot be denied that 2020 was a year of crisis. However one must not forget that at times it is thanks to the effect of such a crisis that we have been forced to suspend our daily habitual thinking and find some time to refresh our philosophical insights.

Let us take for example the emergency measures that were introduced by governments worldwide to combat the Covid-19 crisis. Is it legitimate for the Government to impose lock-downs and limit freedom of movement to safeguard the health of some individuals? Can people in exercising their right to freedom of action behave in ways that other people deem to be reckless and detrimental to the common good? Are the people in favour or against government policy truly inspired by the ideas they believe in, or is this crisis another smoke screen for the promotion of their hidden agendas?

While refraining from entering into the merits of any particular case, I would like to highlight how the study of philosophy can prevent us from walking into a blind alley that attempts to defend one position to the detriment of the other. The most important contribution that philosophy can give to humanity is the way it enables a dialectical reflection on how arguments are constructed and evaluating their consequence.

The year 2020 might be remembered as the year that in spite of all the hardships and sacrifices all humans had to endure, it provided at the same time the opportunity to reflect deeply on our lives and the socially constructed view of reality.

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