04.05.2020, 13:06

About philosophy and ethics in the condition of pandemic

Ilham Mammadzadeh Prof., Doctor of philosophical sciences, Director of the Institute of Philosophy of ANAS, Azerbaijan

The pandemic showed us that the actualization of the problems of philosophy and ethics, and, above all, what is called the ethics of responsibility and urban ethics, will begin with it. Based on the fact that philosophy and ethics, in our opinion, have recently lost touch with each other, we believe that we should return to rethinking them. Let's start with responsibility, because it seemed that democracy was making the sphere of freedom of man and citizen a priority. However, the realities of the pandemic and the alleged possibilities of future pandemics, bioethical, informational and environmental problems and crises, indicate that freedom must become responsible, otherwise it will be dangerous both for the community and for the world. Please note that self-isolation means the responsibility of the individual, his choice of his own line of behavior and restrictions, and the introduction of quarantine means lack of responsibility. Most countries and cultures have chosen quarantine. It must be assumed that from then on, responsibility will become a priority throughout the world. About urban ethics: we are used to the fact that big cities are a lot of people, huge houses, parks, concerts, that our modern everyday life forever connected us with the crowded city, all this seemed to be the inevitability we pay for urban comfort. I think that after the pandemic, a lot will have to be changed in the life of the city. For example, in the morning, crowds of people go to work in the subway. Such habits will have to change. During the pandemic, academic scientists tried with some success to work online, to conduct seminars, conferences, the same thing happened in education. Apparently, this form of work will become a priority for many. That is why, apparently, the time will come for people who are not only responsible, but also flexible, creative and innovative, leadership and the sociality of its manifestation, orientation to local experience, intelligence, what G. Bashlyar called local rationalism will be in demand. I would like to note that these qualities will become generally in demand because life will be associated with them, its preservation. A little bit about rethinking the heritage of A. Camus and J.P. Sartre. They once wrote about the value of life, freedom and moral choice, humanity. The “Plague” Camus and the small work of Sartre “Existentialism is Humanism” come to mind. I think that a re-actualization of their heritage and a new sound will occur. Existentialism is a European heritage, although its influence was not limited to European philosophy. The question of how humanism should be in a pandemic, whose life is valuable to the community, who to choose, and what humanity will become in the new conditions, will become necessary not only for Europe. We think that the idea that a pandemic will no longer remain an illusion, is likely to become realities, their recurrence and inevitability will happen in near future. I would like to call the new humanism responsible, flexible, etc. We assume that the themes of life and local, artificial intelligence and humanism, understanding the near future and rational are relevant in Azerbaijani philosophy. About identity and universality. I suppose that during and after the pandemic, national identity in philosophy will remain a priority, but will be associated with problems of the present, not the past, social philosophy, sociology, philosophy of education, health will be at the center of reflection. And universality will retain its significance, but only in the context of using identity for development. This means that the universal is necessary for the development of identity. During pandemics, civil-national identity is a priority, since only a national state provides protection for a citizen. Social, professional, gender identities will lose in popularity. Of course, family, family morality and mutual assistance will remain as significant as national values. Where family ties are weak, it is difficult to survive. However, universality remains necessary for the development of a community, as without the ties of scientific, educational, cultural, state it can't be realized. Let us pay attention to the importance of the videoconference organized by the President of Azerbaijan with the presidents of Turkish-speaking states, the experience of others for decisionmaking, etc. Again, identity is built on the responsibility of the citizen, government, and bureaucracy. About the new order. We wrote about this in many of our books (from the last: I. Mammadzadeh, “Philosophy of Modernity, History and Culture”, Baku, “ELM VE TEHSIL”, 2020). We live in an era of building a new order. Apparently, the pandemic will clarify that the new order is multipolar, but it will be based on a strong national state, national sovereignty will become a priority for many states. Not the United States, not Russia, not China, although it is clear that their competition determines a lot in the world and will determine, but along with the presence of a strong responsible national state. The importance of strong leaders will grow. In any case, the pandemic has shown that it is they who are in the price, their right and quick decision, their choice. Integrative flows are likely to weaken. And, finally, it is clear that philosophy and ethics are concerned not only with what we met during the pandemic, but also our near future, including the understanding of our current experience. There is reason to think about what is the responsibility of philosophy and how philosophy can be useful. I suppose that ecology will present mankind with many surprises in the form of pandemics, climate change, and therefore, I think that the ability to reflect on experience, collective and social, will become what philosophy is useful for. Ethics of responsibility, the return of existentialism, local rationalism and humanism are trends for a long time. Now about that national sovereignty, a responsible leader and citizens are inextricably linked with each other to answer the expected challenges. Humanism and rationalism will cease to be a European phenomenon, acquiring a national status. I don’t even want to think what awaits communities that ignore the importance and specificity of responsibility for a person in a country, in a family, in a team. National sovereignty, ideology will be firmly connected with human life. Philosophy will broadcast that life, humanism, ethical standards, and identity are priority for it. Apparently, in the context of such a philosophy, new economic priorities should also be considered. It is unlikely that market priorities will remain unchanged. A social and effective state, control and assistance to the weak, basic income will become interesting not only to philosophy.