Crises, and the Ethic of Finitude

Human Arenas 4 (3):357-365 (2020)
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In his postapocalyptic novel, Those Who Remain, G. Michael Hopf (2016) makes an important observation about the effect crises can have on human psychology by noting that "hard times create strong [humans]" (loc. 200). While the catastrophic effects of the recent COVID-19 outbreak are incontestable, there are arguments to be made that the situation itself could be materia prima of a more grounded, and authentic generation of humanity, at least in theory. In this article I draw on Heidegger's early, implicit ethic of finitude as well as his later work surrounding the nature of technology, and place them into dialogue with a global milieu contextualized by worldwide pandemic. I approach this discussion from two different angles: in the first part, I explicate the ethic of finitude, and use it as a framework to describe the observable behavior of communities worldwide in order to better understand how global crises impact the psychical welfare of individual human beings. In the second part, I apply lessons given to us by the later Heidegger, specifically those oriented around the movement away from calculative thinking, in an effort to define a loose, albeit fundamentally ennobling prescriptive aimed at easing the existential strain of the situation we have found ourselves in. *This is a pre-print of an article published in Human Arenas. The final authenticated version is available at DOI: 10.1007/s42087-020-00142-6



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Ryan Wasser
Luzerne County Community College

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Poetry, Language, Thought.Martin Heidegger - 1971 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 31 (1):117-123.
Discourse on thinking.Martin Heidegger - 1966 - New York,: Harper & Row.
Poetry, Language, Thought.Martin Heidegger - 1971 - New York: Harper & Row.

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