Accepted Paper:

An appreciation for the extraneous in medical eradication of Ebola  


Marsha Rosengarten (Goldsmiths University of London)

Paper short abstract:

Eradication of Ebola is imperative for medical science. Yet its manner of involvement in human life warrants care for an appreciation for what A.N. Whitehead proposes as the principle of novelty in the creative advance of life.

Paper long abstract:

According to Alfred North Whitehead: 'The destruction of a man, or of an insect, or of a tree … may be moral or immoral…Whether we destroy, or whether we preserve, our action is moral if we have thereby safeguarded the importance of experience so far as it depends on that concrete instance in the world's history.' To be sure, Whitehead is not proposing there is a principle of safeguarding to be upheld at all costs. But, rather, a discernment in the importance of experience. Taking as my cue, his additional claim that 'Panic of error is the death of progress; and love of truth is its safeguard,' I reflect on the logic by which biomedical science and its partner global health governance acted with purpose to eradicate what they presumed to be the concrete instance of lethal Ebola virus, such that other elements of experience became extraneous. Drawing from the philosophic and pragmatic thought of those in concurrence with Puig de la Bellacasa's proposition of care, I consider what an appreciation for the involvement of such elements might have added to the safeguarding of life during the West African Ebola epidemic.

Panel A04
Involving compounds