Episode 1 of the Woodridge Podcast Series, hosted by me!
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Listen to the interview here:
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The full title of the book is:
Why Nothing Seems to Matter Any More – A Philosophical Study of Our Nihilistic Age
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the global trend towards spending increasing amounts of time online. I explore some of the potential negative consequences of lockdown-induced increases in time spent online, and I argue that the stressful context of the pandemic and lockdowns is exacerbated by being online beyond that which is required for essential purposes. Time spent online may increase stress levels by perpetuating the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response, draining a person’s energy and diminishing one’s ability to deal with illness. I frame the situation as one in which the pandemic context, combined with a mandatory need to be online more, forces many people into what Daniel Kahneman calls “System 1 thinking”, or “fast thinking”. I argue that digital hygiene requires the suspension of System 1 thinking, and that “philosophical perception” resonates with potential remedies in this regard. Keywords: digital society, System 1 thinking, System 2 thinking, philosophical perception, lockdowns.
See my other published articles: https://www.perspectiveproject.co.za/academic/
None of the lockdown decisions made by governments in response to the Covid-19 pandemic can be considered to be self-evident outcomes of objective data. Executive members of each nation’s government considered the particular pandemic circumstances that they deemed to be important and relevant, and decisions were made based on limited epidemiological data in combination with a variety of contingent socio-political and economic variables. These kinds of decisions fall partly into the philosophical category of ethics, and they can be summarised under the umbrella question: What should we do? The precautionary principle must have played a large role in the decision-making process, considering the conspicuous lack of reliable data on which to base decisions. In this article, I turn to South Africa as a case study, and I tease out some of the precautionary factors that may have, in part, driven many major decisions prior to and during the South African lockdown. I argue that if the precautionary principle can be used as part of the justification for large-scale government interventions to save an unknown number of lives, then consistent use of the principle should warrant concerted responses by government to a variety of potential threats and problems in South Africa. I also argue that for government’s focus on saving lives to be consistent, preventative action in response to phenomena that take worryingly large numbers of lives annually, is necessary.
See my other published articles: https://www.perspectiveproject.co.za/published-articles/