Rivista per le Medical Humanities

Bruno Latour
rMH 50, 2021, 13-14

Never let a good crisis go to waste

The present pandemic might offer two lessons, one about sur- viving with viruses and bacteria at the micro level, and another one about recognizing, this time at the macro level, the role of living beings in creating the world in which we humans have to survive. The first lesson comes from biology; the second, from geoscience. The two combined offer the victims of the pan- demic a moment of recognition: at the smallest level just as much as at the biggest, the new condition means that we will never escape the invasive presence of living beings, entangled as we are with other living beings that react to our actions. If they mutate we have to mutate as well. This is the reason why the many national lockdowns – imposed on their citizens to survive the covid virus – offer such a powerful analogy with the Great Lockdown in which humanity finds itself detained for good. It would be a mistake to believe that the pandemic is a crisis that will end instead of the perfect warning for what is coming: the new climatic regime. It appears that all the resources of sci- ence, humanities and the arts have to be mobilized once again to shift attention from the human to the terrestrial condition.

Barbara Stiegler
rMH 50, 2021, 15-20

Life in times of Pandemic: a strange defeat?

What we decided to quote here is the introductory chapter of the essay La democrazia in Pandemia. Salute, ricerca, educazione, courtesy of the publishing house Carbonio Editore, issued in Milan in 2021 for the Italian version (whose original was published in French by Gallimard, Paris, at the beginning of the same year). It offers an analysis of the social and political implications of the health emergency which, despite the countless references to the French national context and to the time it was written, has a much wider significance and deserves consideration. What the virus basically lays bare is the contradiction existing between the harmful effects on our health of what is mistakenly called “economic development” and the current underdevelopment of almost all of our health systems, including those of the richest countries on the planet. However, especially insofar as the political field is concerned, the context of the pandemic is hindering free expression of criticism and democratic aspirations. The fate of democracy will largely depend on the resistance forces of the scientific world and on their ability to be heard in the crucial political debates that are going to be conducted on the topics of health and future life. Therefore, dissemination of education and reference to the law are now more important than ever. Only a forthright critical and self-critical capacity, a true willingness to listen and to dialogue – as claimed by the author – will actually enable us to strengthen the citizens’ confidence in scientific knowledge.

Sergio Filippo Magni
rMH 50, 2021, 21-25

Vaccination, freedom and moral responsibility

The article analyses the manifold reasons underlying the refusal of vaccination in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses, in particular, on the moral reasons for it, based on the assertion of the absolute value of freedom of choice. The author shows how this freedom cannot be claimed to the extent that it causes harm to others, and how it should be commensurate with other fundamental values, such as the value of individual and collective health and well-being. In this sense, refusing the vaccine to affirm one’s freedom of choice becomes a morally wrong action and, conversely, undergoing vaccination a moral duty.