Dialogical Breakdown and Covid-19: Solidarity and Disagreement in a Shared World
This article considers the limitations, but also the insights, of Gadamerian hermeneutics for understanding and responding to the crisis precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our point of departure is the experience of deep disagreements amid the pandemic, and our primary example is ongoing debates in the United States about wearing masks. We argue that, during this dire situation, interpersonal mutual understanding is insufficient for resolving such bitter disputes. Rather, following Gadamer’s account of our dialogical experience with an artwork, we suggest that our encounter with the virus gives rise to new ways of seeing and experiencing ourselves and the world. Further, we draw on Gadamer’s account of the fusion of horizons to show how even competing perspectives on wearing masks arise within a shared space of meaning created by the virus. These insights provide hope for an improved model of political dialogue in the world of Covid-19.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).