Applying Philosophy, Logic, and Rational Argumentation to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 Pandemic Response

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Ari Joffe, David Redman

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: COVID-19; critical scrutiny; logic; pandemic; response; SARS-CoV-2

Part of philosophy is to subject assertions to critical scrutiny, clarifying exactly what the assertion is saying, its implications, and thus its direct plausibility. The goal is to ensure clarity, logical consistency, and rational argumentation in order to arrive at reasoned conclusions. A common problem is that arguments have missing implied premises that, unless explicitly stated, are mistakenly assumed to be true. Here we subject conclusions made regarding the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to critical scrutiny, revealing their implied premises so that these premises can be explicitly examined and refuted. Specifically, we refute the conclusions that “no one is protected until everyone is protected” and “population lockdowns are required to protect those at high risk of adverse outcomes.” In the end, we argue for the conclusion that “an Emergency Management principles based response to the pandemic, compared to population-wide lockdowns, offers a way to prevent more adverse outcomes from COVID-19, better prevent overwhelmed healthcare, and prevent most of the collateral damage to the wellbeing of the population that has resulted from the lockdowns.”

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