31. March 2020

Society as a whole must do a lot of rethinking Signs of life: Society as a whole must do a lot of rethinking

Two philosophy students keep up the conversation through blogging

Students of the University of Bonn are currently pursuing their studies from home. This, however, does not mean there is no need for exchange with each other. But how can we maintain the discourse when all courses are cancelled, culinary offers are unavailable and meetings of more than two people in public are prohibited by law? Philosophy students Gabriel Valdez and Moritz Richarz have decided to tackle this problem by creating an online blog and posting regularly about philosophical questions and current global issues.

Die Sokratiker
Die Sokratiker - Moritz Richarz is co-founder of the student website. © Photo: private
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We talked to Gabriel Valdez about their idea and the current situation.

University Communications: What audience are you trying to reach with your website?

Gabriel Valdez: We want to reach our colleagues at the University as well as people in general. This is why we write brief articles, discussing current issues and providing food for thought. We have been sharing our blog with friends and acquaintances, and reactions have been quite positive. We are also hoping for feedback and critical review of our articles.

How can philosophy be a source of support in the current situation?

The question of what philosophy stands for is a common one. Today, as science is assuming the primacy of knowledge, it might seem that philosophy has become obsolete. But philosophy touches the essence of every human being and changes continuously; it encourages and strengthens critical, reflective and analytical thinking, with an ethic vision and moral compass providing the resources for a better life. Philosophy also offers concepts for promoting a dialogue and connection between art, religion, biology, technology and other fields. In this respect, philosophy is highly relevant today - it questions our society in times of crisis and can call for solidarity and tolerance.

You have made such a call in one of your blog posts. What made you do that?

The coronavirus crisis has not only changed our lives within a few days but has also shown that we, society as a whole, must do a lot of rethinking. One crucial aspect in this crisis is solidarity. News from Italy has really moved me, which is why I chose this topic to encourage thinking about our current reality.

It has only been a few days since you posted your article, but much has happened since. Do you feel like the situation has improved at all?

I think that society is finally grasping the severity of this situation. In many ways, quarantine is making us take a good look at ourselves. If further measures are taken and we continue to watch out for the people around us, we will soon be able to overcome this crisis.

How do the measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus affect your personal life? In what way have things changed for you in particular?

The public virus containment measures have impacted my life quite significantly. At the moment, I can only work from home, and the uncertainty regarding the beginning of the coming lecture period has affected my plans for the next semester to some extent. But there are positive sides to this as well, such as finding more time to read. Creating this website with my best friend and writing articles is one of many things I have accomplished through being at home.

Interview conducted by Dr. Andreas Archut. Please find the website “Die Sokratiker” with posts by Gabriel Valdez and Moritz Richarz at:  https://diesokratiker.de

Signs of life - keeping up the conversation

In “Signs of life - keeping up the conversation!” the University of Bonn is publishing articles written by members of the University, sharing personal impressions of the fight against the coronavirus as well the impact it has on our lives. The format is aimed at keeping the communication going and strengthening our University community in these difficult times. Articles written by members of the University are published, in no particular order, on this website, depicting different perspectives, initiating discussions and exchanging tips and food for thought on the current challenge. If you wish to contribute, please contact University Communications at kommunikation@uni-bonn.de.

Selfie from the home office
Selfie from the home office - Student of philosophy Gabriel Valdez. © Photo: private
Signs of life: Philosophy online
Signs of life: Philosophy online - Gabriel Valdez. © Photo: private
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