Crises, and the Ethic of Finitude

Human Arenas 4 (3):357-365 (2020)
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Abstract

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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References found in this work

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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