On June 1st, Professor Sonam Kachru will participate in a webinar hosted by Delhi University, giving a talk:
Ethics and Epidemics: Reflections from Ancient India
Date: 01/06/2020 Time: 5:00 to 6:00 PM Indian Standard Time
I revisit an Ancient Indian Medical Text, Caraka’s Compendium, to discuss the salience of ethical considerations in the conceptualization of an epidemic. I consider two ways in which Caraka’s Compendium makes room for normativity in the framing of the concept of an epidemic: in its conceptualization of the proximate and distal causes of epidemics; and in its conceptualization of the response an affected public is rationally obligated to display during an epidemic. After providing a historical characterization of the concepts in play in this discussion, I offer some reflections on what we stand to learn from Caraka and ethics in ancient India during our own pandemic.