Life under lockdown: nasty, brutish, and short?
in Everything must change
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The potentially devastating impact of COVID-19 on the world economy is beyond measure. The risk is that if the economy collapses it will also bring down civil society with it. Political philosophers have a term for this: we are being propelled towards the ‘state of nature’. This chapter suggests that extreme crises do not bring out the best in people. A negative, almost nightmarish account of the state of nature has a long tradition in the history of philosophy, and at the centre of it we find the widely maligned but often misunderstood seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. At the risk of defending a highly controversial figure, this chapter suggests that Hobbes still has a great deal to teach us about life under COVID-19.

Everything must change

Philosophical lessons from lockdown

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