Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

This paper is inspired by a thesis on “immune capital” by Kathryn Olivarius. We suggest that the biological capital, which immunity capital is part of, should be considered as an additional component of the life-course experience of individuals, together with the traditional Bourdieu’s social, economic and cultural capitals that drive their lives. Building upon this concept, we consider the relationships between science, society and policy-making in the course of the pandemic. We suggest that we need to ‘reframe problems so that their ethical dimensions are brought to light’ (Jasanoff), with a request for humility extended to political leaders, to ‘look beyond science’ in search for ethical solutions. The present pandemic plays out―and is integral to―the acceleration of the rate of change, Pope Francis’ peculiar word “rapidification”, i.e. a vortex involving technoscience, policy and the new media.

COVID-19 has accelerated our understanding of how science works and how it relates to political decision making. From a methodological point of view, we can consider the history of the epidemic in the light of the (probably obsolete) dichotomy between nomothetic and idiographic disciplines. Consider the―still largely fragmentary―causal reconstruction of the origins of COVID-19, or the issues related to immunity: it is very difficult to recognise “covering laws” here, like those valid in…


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