Back to Eudaimonia as a Social Relation: What Does the Covid Crisis Teach Us about Individualism and its Limits?

Published: Dec 31, 2022
ethics individualism happiness society knowledge
Emmanuel Roberto Goffi

The current health crisis that has spread worldwide has raised many questions regarding our relations to the Other and to ourselves. Through isolating people, Covid-19 has demonstrated the need we face, as human beings, to socialize and to get in contact, physically speaking, with others. As Aristotle stated, human beings are political animals, meaning social animals that can flourish only in the polis through the process of interacting with each other in quest of eudaimonia, i.e. happiness. Along with the rise of socio-physical distancing imposed due to the pandemic, people around the world have experienced isolation and the lack of human contact and interaction. In the Western world this isolation has led to an increase in mental health issues, and this fact has to be taken into consideration by the government when making decisions regarding the reinforcement or the slackening of measures in the context of Covid. The pandemic has shed a light on the limits of individualism as it has developed in some places. The quest for happiness has slowly led some societies to create a kind of a solipsistic world in which there would exist no reality, no truth outside individuals’ perceptions. Consequently, each human being is considered as “the measure of all things,” as Protagoras noted. This unique experience could then give us the grounds to question our relations to each other, to investigate our understanding of eudaimonia, and to revisit what it means to live in a society.

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Author Biography
Emmanuel Roberto Goffi, Global AI Ethics Institute, France

Emmanuel R. Goffi is a philosopher of artificial intelligence. He is the Co-Director and co-Founder of The Global AI Ethics Institute in Paris. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Paris Institute of Political Studies Dr Goffi is also advisor in AI Ethics with Huawei, as well as a faculty member with the Big Data Lab at the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt, Germany, and a research fellow with the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba (UofM), in Winnipeg, Canada, and the Université Mohammed Premier in Oujda, Morocco. He has been lecturing in several institutions in France, in Canada and in Germany, and he has has written numerous pieces on ethics applied to artificial intelligence. He is regularly invited to give talks and lectures, and to participate to experts meeting and boards worldwide. His research focuses on the development of artificial intelligence and its ethical dimensions through a multicultural approach.

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