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  • Caroline Schreier

The Metaphysics of Covid-19

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Written by Miranda Yarowsky


I. Abstract

It doesn’t take a philosopher or a clairvoyant to analyze the universals of life. The delineation of the infamous 2019 coronavirus - and the ontological repercussions of the disease - created a distinctive new environment; one for humanity to both analyze and transcend. Thus, in terms of elucidating pandemic stresses, now is a time more critical than ever. We, as a collective, spend far too much time looking back on our lives and living in the past. This is how we are taught to act - yet it’s self-destructive. If anything was learned from this global catastrophe, it's that there are new opportunities at every second, which are wasted in living foolishly. Thus, it’s time for a shift in the natural order of our paradigms. I challenge you to look to the future, to internalize your current psychosocial stage, and transcend to the next. Studying the metaphysics of Covid-19 will help you do so.


II. The Metaphysics of Covid-19

Simply put, metaphysics is the study of being and existing. Discovered by Aristotle and catalyzed by Continental Rationalists, Metaphysics has become notorious for answering the unanswerable.

There are two themes to metaphysics, yet Theme 2 is more relevant to today’s society:

Theme 2: “The study of reality, being, and becoming” (Stanford 2017).

Ontology, and more specifically, poly categorical ontology attempts to this theme, answering questions such as:

What is existence, i.e. what does it mean for a being to be?

What are the meanings of being?

Which entities, if any, are fundamental?

The answers to these questions, and ontology in general, are more applicable than ever, as Covid-19 has given a new perspective on the fundamentals of life.

Challenge: Answer these questions as honestly and holistically as you can. Don’t fear the answers, change them instead. Fixate on your meaning of being and add new, more purposeful, and raw fundamentals to your life.


III. Postmodern Logistical Determinism

Raw fundamentals and logistical determinism are bound in essence, so by manipulating one, you manipulate the other. Thence, logistical determinism is “The notion that all propositions, whether about the past, present, or future, are either true or false.”(Wikipedia 2020) This notion in itself negates the possibility of free will, as it implies that the future is set to happen, and fate is inevitable. Although controversial and pressing, COVID-19 helps in understanding that if fate is pre-decided, it can still be manipulated.

Arguably, metaphysics and logistical determinism are inherent, yet it is not the end-all-be-all; instead, an elusive notion of existence. Even though the effects of COVID-19 seem out of reach and out of control, like logistical determinism, the setbacks are elusive and somewhat restructured to oneself. Time spent determining how Covid-19 is restrictive is like contemplating how choices can be free given the future is already predetermined. It’s time wasted, time spent turning your dream into a falsehood, a step in the direction of failure. Stop thinking about what you can’t do with the contingencies of Covid, and start thinking about the opportunities you have. An inherent truth and an inherent false is determined every split-second. Find the grey area within your truth, and manipulate it. Truth is inherent but malleable; by manipulating our truth, you manipulate future truths, and therefore, your future. Free will is a part of logistic determinism, so by manipulating will, you set yourself free.


IV. Modalities of Being: Essence vs. Existence

“This has the consequence that all positive and all the negative modalities fall together: whatever is possible is both actual and necessary, whatever is not necessary is both non-actual and impossible,” (Hartmann 1924). The modalities of being are subjective but inherent. To live, one must be. By similar logic, whatever is possible to be, is both actual and necessary. It is easy to overlook possibilities and declare them impossible, yet by breaking from this simple way of thinking, you enter a realm of exponentially greater possibilities which by the logic of modality, are actual. This transcends you from essence to existence, and from what you are in fundamental status, to what you are in reality. By acquainting ourselves with the parallels of modality (and with it, the imperialism of existence) we become the conquistadores of our own reality. Covid-19 is an interference, an inhibition. Yet, it does not have to define the parameters of your life, nor of your existence-- so don’t let it define the parameters of the present.


V: Epilogue

Ultimately, we are entities; both parts and wholes of modalities, both essences and existences. We are and we aren’t, so don’t let concrete thinking infect the fluidity of your life. By the same logic, Don’t set concrete limits when opportunities during Covid-19 are malleable. Take that class, get that dog, paint that picture. Don’t limit yourself to what is concrete, because nothing is. The world is your own topological entity; there are no limits, only possibility.



Works Cited

1924, Diesseits von Idealismus und Realismus : Ein Beitrag zur Scheidg d. Geschichtl. u. Übergeschichtl. in d. Kantischen Philosophie in: Sonderdrucke der Kantischen Studien, Pan Verlag R. Heise Berlin, pp. 160–206.

Savitt, Steven, "Being and Becoming in Modern Physics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/e



Works Consulted

1924, Diesseits von Idealismus und Realismus : Ein Beitrag zur Scheidg d. Geschichtl. u. Übergeschichtl. in d. Kantischen Philosophie in: Sonderdrucke der Kantischen Studien, Pan Verlag R. Heise Berlin, pp. 160–206.

Savitt, Steven, "Being and Becoming in Modern Physics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/spacetime-bebecome/>.

Wikipedia. "Free Will." Wikipedia, 30 Nov. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will#:~:text=the%20smallest%20detail.-,Logical%20determinism,or%20false%20in%20the%20present. Accessed 8 Dec. 2020.

---. "Philosophy." Wikipedia, google, 8 Dec. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy#:~:text=Philosophy%20(from%20Greek%3A%20%CF%86%CE%B9%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%83%CE%BF%CF%86%CE%AF%CE%B1%2C,to%20be%20studied%20or%20resolved. Accessed 10 Dec. 2020.