HPS371H1: COVID-19: Epistemology and Societal Implications


The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant changes in our daily lives, society, medicine, and public health. This course will examine the pandemic and the public response through a philosophy of science lens. In particular, students will explore philosophical issues about how the healthcare community generates knowledge and how that knowledge is used to inform responses to a major public health crisis. The course will also provide a brief history of pandemics and examine Coronavirus in a historical context. Epistemological issues regarding pandemic modelling and epidemiology, clinical research and generalizability of findings, diagnostic testing, public health response (e.g. border closures, protective masks, social distancing, isolation, testing and tracking), and economic and social impact will be covered. Portrayals of the pandemic by media, government, and scientists will also be examined. Readings will be drawn from a variety of academic disciplines and popular sources.

6.0 credits
Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)