Are vaccines a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19? Is the Green Pass a useful pandemic prevention tool or is it instead an instrument of torture and social conflict at the service of a self-referential political power? Are the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) credible agencies? Can mainstream journalism be trusted? And what about pharmaceutical companies—can we put our trust in them? What about science, and just what is meant by this term? These are a few of the questions addressed in Fulvio Di Blasi’s latest book.
“Anti-Covid vaccines and the pandemic are issues that now completely permeate our entire existence both as individuals and as citizens of single states and the whole world. They are complex issues, with a thousand facets. From whom should we learn the truth about them? How exactly? What value should we give to the statements of the various people and institutions that tell us about these truths? It is essential that we learn to answer these questions in a sufficient and reasonable way, because from on the information that is transmitted to us crucial decisions depend that each of us must make: decisions about our own health and that of our loved ones, about the common good, and about the fundamental rights and freedoms of the society in which we live” (from the Introduction by the author).
Fulvio Di Blasi is not only a recognized expert in moral philosophy, but also a fine jurist. In this book, he invites us all to become judges and to question, in the courtroom of our conscience, all the potential witnesses of the vaccine trial—trial that culminates with our choices or ethical judgments—in order to evaluate which witnesses to allow and which to consider unreliable. The book has an epistemological aspect, to frame the meaning of the truth we seek; an investigative aspect, to evaluate the witnesses of the court trial; and a moral background centered on virtue ethics and on the phronimos, the prudent Aristotelian person, who for Di Blasi is the great absentee in the current debate on vaccines and the pandemic.
There is an ongoing war over vaccines, Di Blasi tells us; “however, the times are almost ripe for the end of Jacobinism” and “even a book can make a difference, however small.”