2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Voices of the Pandemic: Consensus and Conflict in Attitudes towards COVID-19 Restrictions and the relation to the views of Karl Popper and Fredrich Nietzsche.

The recent and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown a clear display of the attitudes and values some of society withhold in response to the restrictions and guidelines put in place to protect the larger community. While there is constant conflict between opinions on these restrictions, one thing that the debate almost always comes back to is the question of freedom and freewill, and whether enforced mandates are a violation of this or a commitment to the greater good regardless of sacrifice. Current events present this question; however, this discussion is not new and has been debated throughout history by many philosophers, but speakers Karl Popper and Fredrich Nietzsche present particularly appealing arguments that can be applied to both the conversation regarding the lack of freewill in this modern pandemic and in the past with reference to morality and religion. Furthermore, the debate of the validity of the proof behind the reasoning for the COVID-19 restrictions is constantly argued, often from two uncompromising parties, one that sides heavily with the scientifically backed restrictions and the other who completely disagrees with the evidence and its validity. The heavily discussed philosophical concepts of rationalism, empiricism and relativism can be applied to this argument to analyse each viewpoint and provide an insight on how philosophers like Popper and Nietzsche would approach the argument based on their philosophical beliefs and views of the above concepts. With this project being heavily based on the differing viewpoints of the community during the pandemic and linking this to different philosophical concepts based in several different fields: rationality, focusing on the subject’s personal beliefs; empiricism, focusing on scientific, verifiable truth; and relativism, focusing on the subjects moral and religious beliefs.