Philosophers at a distance

Posted on 31 Mar 2020.
The Daily Nous
Plato Image by Jon Hicks / Getty Images.

How would Plato respond to our call to social distancing? “Okay everybody, change of plans: stay inside your caves!” Philosophical wit by Justin Weinberg.


Justin Weinberg, the editor over at The Dail Nous (pronounced /nu:s/) has committed a witticism, and it is worth quoting at some length. How do philosophers respond to being told they have to “social distance” and avoid leaving their homes?

Zeno of Elea: “Don’t worry, I can never reach anyone anyway.”

Plato: “Okay everybody, change of plans: stay inside your caves!”

Hume: “Look, just because social distancing worked before doesn’t mean it’s going to work now. And I’m in the middle of a backgammon game!”

Descartes: “I doubt anyone else is around.”

Kant: “It may be bad if we don’t social distance but that’s irrelevant, for if we imagine as a universal law of nature everyone staying six feet apart in order to survive, then we immediately see a contradiction, as humankind would have long gone extinct, and so would be unable to follow such a law.”

Berkeley: “Can we all just not give this virus another thought?!”

From “Philosophers Respond to Social Distancing” by Justin Weinberg.

About Torgeir Fjeld
I am a writer, publisher, and educational administrator with PhDs in Cultural Theory (Roehampton, 2012) and Philosophy (EGS, 2017). My latest books are Introducing Ereignis: philosophy, technology, way of life and Rock Philosophy. I have published many articles in journals such as Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, International Journal of Žižek Studies, Teaching Philosophy, Journal of Silence Studies in Education, and Oxford Left Review. I am currently Head of the Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts, Publisher at Tankebanen forlag, and Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Inscriptions. I have taught at many universities in North America, Europe, and Africa, including the University of Minnesota, Roehampton University, the University of Gdańsk, and the University of kwaZulu/Natal. On this page you will find a section entirely dedicated to poetry in translation. This page has a cookie policy.
Search