Today, it is widely believed that humans have the ability to grasp the material world as it is, and that this grasp can be instrumentalized so as to progressively solve problems and maximize human flourishing. We call this idea “technopositivism.” Technopositivism seeks to give a comprehensive explanation of all that is, including the best possible social order. But, like all interpretive systems, technopositivism is incapable of providing such an explanation. Technopositivism is thus riddled with ironies and fragile. We argue that prevailing understandings of COVID-19 are instantiations of technopositivism and, as such, illuminate many of these ironies and fragilities.

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