CMR Audio Project – Episode 14 – Prof. Lorien Pichegru

Podcast: Interview with Prof. Bert Olivier on his new book, Why Nothing Seems to Matter Any More

Listen to the interview here:

(You may have to press play twice!)

The full title of the book is:

Why Nothing Seems to Matter Any More – A Philosophical Study of Our Nihilistic Age

[Published Article] Digital Hygiene – Pandemic Lockdowns and the Need to Suspend Fast Thinking

Abstract

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.

Link: https://www.pdcnet.org/ft/content/ft_2020_0009_0003_0033_0047

See my other published articles: https://www.perspectiveproject.co.za/academic/

[Published article] To Save Lives – The Ethical Precedent set by South Africa’s Leadership during Lockdown

Abstract

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.

Link: https://upjournals.co.za/index.php/Phronimon/article/view/8424

See my other published articles: https://www.perspectiveproject.co.za/published-articles/

 

CMR Audio Project – Episode 13 – Asisipho Mhlonyane

CMR Audio Project – Episode 12 – Dr Nina Rivers

Video: Rustic low tech living 9 – laundry on a small solar energy system

CMR Audio Project – Episode 11 – Prof Rose Boswell

CMR Audio Project – Episode 10 – Dr Tommy Bornman


Dr Tommy Bornman is a node manager at SAEON, the South African Environmental Observation Network. In this episode of the CMR Audio Project, Tommy answers some of tough environmental and ecological questions.

Comments or questions welcome: [email protected]

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in the CMR audio project episodes are those of the participants, and do not necessarily reflect any position of the CMR or the Nelson Mandela University.

CMR Audio Project – Episode 9 – Dr Kwezi Mzilikazi

Dr Nomakwezi Mzilikazi - Zoological Society of Southern Africa (ZSSA)

Image source: here

Dr Mzilikazi is the Director of Research Support and Management at the university. In this interview she speaks about her background, her passion for connecting students and researchers to opportunities, her thoughts on her transition from a rural to urban environment, her PhD and post-doctoral zoological research work, her views on a potentially worrying ecological mess that we’re in, and a fair amount more.

Comments or questions welcome: [email protected]

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in the CMR audio project episodes are those of the participants, and do not necessarily reflect any position of the CMR or the Nelson Mandela University.