Life in the plague times

how fairs a metaphysic of persons in the kingdom of new pandemonia?


  • Simon Smith British Personalist Forum


pandemic, Agamben, ethics, political theory, religion


In early 2020, Agamben asked a number of important moral and political questions concerning the global response to coronavirus. The response was heated; sufficiently so to prompt the editors of Inscriptions to ask whether that response had not, “put our ability to reason calmly and clearly in peril. ” Motivated by sympathy for all sides of the debate, the aim of our present, brief, rumination is to consider these concerns in light of the ways circumstances have actually unfolded since they were raised. While Agamben’s fears may not correspond very precisely with the reality of the situation, those fears are, nonetheless, entirely legitimate. Crucially, Agamben reminds us, there is much in our collective response to coronavirus to be ashamed of; not least, the ways in which isolation and separation have been used to reinforce a disastrous individualism. In sickness or in health, we abandon one another at our peril.

Author Biography

Simon Smith, British Personalist Forum

Simon Smith has edited two essay collections: In the Sphere of the Personal (with James Beauregard); and Looking at the Sun (with Anna Castriota). He has also published a monograph on applied metaphysics entitled Beyond Realism. His current project concerns the analogies at work in modern physics and modern metaphysics.