In defence of fear: COVID-19, crises and democracy

Dan Degerman*, Matthew Flinders, Matthew Thomas Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has served, not just to instill fear in the populace, but to highlight the importance of fear as a motivating dynamic in politics. The gradual emergence of political philosophical approaches calling for concern for ‘positive’ emotions may have made sense under non-pandemic conditions. Now, however, describing fear in the face of a deadly pandemic as ‘irrational’ or born of ‘ignorance’ seems ‘irrational’ and ‘ignorant’. In this article, we draw upon the work of John Gray and behavioural science to present a defence of fear. We show how the pandemic has highlighted deficits in the work of four thinkers highly critical of fear: Martha Nussbaum, Zygmunt Bauman, Hannah Arendt and Sarah Ahmed. We argue that, if such approaches are to be of value in anything other than optimal conditions, then they have to acknowledge the fundamental role of fear in helping human beings to pursue fundamental interests.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Early online date22 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • fear
  • emotions
  • irrationality
  • politics
  • public health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'In defence of fear: COVID-19, crises and democracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this