On Covidiots and Covexperts: Stupidity and the Politics of Health


  • Dr. Tom Grimwood University of Cumbria




The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of the politics of health as an ongoing interpretative event. The effectiveness of delivering prevention strategies is in negotiation with day-to-day arguments in the public sphere, not just by “experts” in peer-reviewed papers, but also in the everyday interpretations and discussions of available expertise on print and digital media platforms. In this paper I explore ae particular facet of these public debate over the politics of health: the deployment of the commonplace of stupidity. I argue that the growth of this commonplace within discussion is rooted in particular models of interpretation which limit self-understanding, by over-emphasising certain points of significance within the interpretative horizon over more banal (and “stupid”) aspects that are, nevertheless, influential on health interventions.

Author Biography

Dr. Tom Grimwood, University of Cumbria

Tom Grimwood is Associate Professor in Social Philosophy at the University of Cumbria, UK. His research focuses on cultural hermeneutics, in particular the formative role of ambiguity within acts of interpretation, and the relationship between the history of philosophy and applied social practices. He is the author of The Shock of the Same: An Antiphilosophy of Clichés (2021), Key Debates in Social Work and Philosophy (2016), Irony, Misogyny and Interpretation: Ambiguous Authority in Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche (2012), and Against Critical Thinking in Health, Social Work and Social Care (forthcoming).