Listener Covidundrums

28 May 2020

Are there particular moral dilemmas and conundrums the coronavirus pandemic and its effects have raised for you? Have you struggled to find an ethical way to balance your own needs and the needs of others? How much should you expect others to do for the public good, and what can reasonably be asked of you? And if some people are breaking the rules, putting you or others at risk, do you have an obligation to do or say something?  

In this week’s show we’re discussing listeners’ real life covidundrums. We asked you to get in touch and tell us about the moral dilemmas and ethical quandaries you’ve had to confront in the age of Covid and social distancing. We got lots of emails and voice messages from listeners all over the country, and even one from across the pond in Ireland! We tried to include as many of those conundrums as we could in one episode.

To provide philosophical insight on our listeners’ moral dilemmas, we invited a professional ethicist to join Josh and Ray for this special episode. Philosopher Karen Stohr is a senior scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown and, since the pandemic started, has been regularly tackling readers’ problems in a Washingtonian column called Ask a Coronvirus Ethicist. We were delighted she was able to join us for this week’s show.

Our goal for this episode is not necessarily to resolve our listeners’ problems or offer specific advice. Rather, we want to give our listeners something more to think about, maybe a new way to frame the problem, or new conceptual tools to help them find their own resolution. I’m sure many of the problems and dilemmas discussed will resonate with our other listeners’ experiences too. Either way, we hope you enjoy the conversation.   

If you have a Covid-related ethical conundrum that did not get addressed in this week’s show, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a note and tell us about your problem at and we might feature it on the blog or include it in a follow-up episode.


Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Comments (2)

dantra's picture


Thursday, June 4, 2020 -- 10:28 PM

-Donate an organ to Ruth

-Donate an organ to Ruth Bader Ginsburg? This remark was made in exteremely poor taste.

lufensolemn's picture


Wednesday, June 19, 2024 -- 2:14 AM

It's refreshing to see a

It's refreshing to see a platform dedicated to exploring the ethical complexities brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The approach Philosophy Talk takes, by inviting listeners to share their personal dilemmas and then engaging a professional ethicist like Karen Stohr (or geometry dash), not only provides a space for reflection but also offers valuable insights into navigating these unprecedented times. This initiative not only helps individuals grapple with their own moral quandaries but also encourages a broader conversation on societal responsibilities and ethical considerations during a global crisis.

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