by Michael Marder
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 is an effect of definite (objective) causal chains. Nonetheless, the way it is called upon to serve as the blueprint for a transition to an ecologically sensitive life is spurious, purely accidental. Accidents may, of course, be of at least two types: random events that do not presuppose an actor at all and unforeseen effects of an action that is deliberate. How does SARS-CoV-2 fit within this scheme?
I remember it clearly, as if it was yesterday, the day I first met Ágnes Heller. It was early in 1980 on the ground floor of La Trobe University’s Social Sciences building. I had an appointment with her. I had come to ask her if she would supervise my PhD. I had read an article she had published in Telos journal on ethics, and I felt a strong affinity with it. I brought with me my Honours thesis on Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. As I got to her office she appeared—both of us characteristically on time. My first impression: a short woman with penetrating deeply intelligent eyes. My lasting impression: she appeared with slightly damp hair and a towel around her shoulders. She’d been swimming in the university pool, one of her life-long favourite activities.