Everything must change

Philosophical lessons from lockdown

By Vittorio Bufacchi

Everything must change
Hardcover +
  • Price: £14.00
  • ISBN: 9781526158772
  • Publish Date: Jun 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    eBook -
  • Price: £14.00
  • ISBN: 9781526158765
  • Publish Date: Jun 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5876-5
    • Published Date: June 2021


    The philosopher Michel de Montaigne said that facing our mortality is the only way to learn the 'art of living'. This book asks what we can learn from COVID-19, both as individuals and collectively as a society.

    Written during the first and second lockdowns, Everything must change offers philosophical perspectives on some of the most pressing issues raised by the pandemic. It argues that the pandemic is not a misfortune but an injustice; that it has exposed our society's inadequate treatment of its most vulnerable members; that populist ideologies of post-truth are dangerous and potentially disastrous. In considering these issues and more, the book draws on a diverse range of philosophers, from Cicero, Hobbes and Arendt to prominent contemporary thinkers.

    At the heart of the book is a simple argument: politics can be the difference between life and death. With careful reflection we can avoid knee-jerk decision making and ensure that the right lessons are learned, so that this crisis ultimately changes our lives for the better, ushering in a society that is both more compassionate and more just.


    'The global pandemic has made us think about a lot of issues that we don't normally pay much attention to. Are older people more expendable than younger people? When and why should we trust politicians or scientists? Is lockdown fair? Philosophy can't cure COVID-19, but in this serious-minded yet accessible book, Vittorio Bufacchi shows how it can help us get our heads around the many issues the pandemic raises in our daily lives.'
    Helen Beebee, Samuel Hall Professor of Philosophy, University of Manchester

    'This is a fine, sensitive and thought-provoking discussion, taking readers well beyond COVID-19 into deep concerns about current socio-political moral stances. The book deserves to be read by all those worried about the injustices, sufferings and misperceptions underlying our society; it deserves all the more to be read by those who complacently lack those worries.'
    Peter Cave, author of The Myths We Live By: A Contrarian's Guide to Democracy, Free Speech and Other Liberal Fictions

    'Timely and insightful, Bufacchi's wonderfully written Everything must change is a testament to just how good (and important) public philosophy can be. Drawing from philosophy's best minds (including his own), Bufacchi guides the reader through eight essential lessons from the coronavirus pandemic, with a strong emphasis on how the virus highlights entrenched social injustices. The book's short chapters and accessible prose will be welcomed by readers of all backgrounds, particularly those who are new to the field. I wholeheartedly recommend Everything must change to anybody who is interested in bringing about a fairer world.'
    Jack Symes, The Panpsycast


    1 Coronavirus and philosophy
    2 COVID-19: injustice or misfortune?
    3 Old age in the time of coronavirus
    4 Life under lockdown: nasty, brutish and short?
    5 Is COVID-19 bad for populism?
    6 COVID-19, fake news and post-truth
    7 COVID-19, experts and trust
    8 Normal People, normalised violence
    9 Justice after COVID-19
    Epilogue: a year of COVID-19


    Vittorio Bufacchi is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at University College Cork. His previous books include Violence and Social Justice (2007) and Social Injustice (2012). He has written for the Guardian, the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner.

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