Philosophy Today

Volume 64, Issue 4, Fall 2020

Philosophy in a Time of Pandemic

Cressida J. Heyes
Pages 859-863

The Short and the Long of It
A Political Phenomenology of Pandemic Time

Drawing on Françoise Dastur’s suggestion that the event is a permanent possibility that shapes lived experience, but also, when it occurs, a distinctive temporal rupture, I argue that the initial weeks of the COVID-19 epidemic constitute an event, in her sense. Connecting this phenomenological point to literatures on the politics of temporality, I suggest that the distinction between event and normal experience maps to that between epidemic and endemic. Understanding some of the political and ethical erasures of death and debility in COVID times can thus be mutually informed by phenomenological analysis.