COVID-19: The need of an integrated and critical view

Charbel N. El-Hani, Virgílio Machado

Abstract


To understand and act upon a complex reality like COVID-19, we need to integrate knowledge from different academic sciences, in interdisciplinary efforts, and academic knowledge and other knowledge systems, in transdisciplinary processes. Without an integrated view leading to socially robust orientations, we are less likely to successfully navigate our challenging times. However, COVID-19 became a “wicked problem”, in which there is broad disagreement on what the very ‘problem’ is, and instead of a “whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach”, we find partial solutions that fall short of dealing with the complex dilemmas posed by the wicked problem. To build an integrated view, different scientists and social actors should engage in trust relationships and accept mutual epistemic dependencies, as requisites for a concerted way of understanding and acting on the problem. This is particularly hard, however, in a wicked problem. In building an integrated view on COVID-19, the role of academic sciences should be surely recognized, but we should avoid turning this recognition into an advocacy for scientism. It remains necessary to recognize and value the plurality of knowledge systems that span over human history, as well as their integration for mutual learning and concerted action. It is worth briefly examining, then, an integration initiative in COVID-19 treatment, namely between traditional Chinese and Western medicine. Finally, an integrated and critical view of COVID-19 demands that we cast aside the myth of value-free science, consider the relationships between values and scientific work, and conceive how knowledge can be objective without being neutral.

Keywords


COVID-19 - Knowledge integration - Wicked problems

Full Text:

PDF

References


Alexander PE, Debono VB, Mammen MJ, Iorio A, Aryal K, Deng D, Brocard E, Alhazzani W (2020) COVID-19 research has overall low methodological quality thus far: case in point for chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, in press, doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.04.016 Accessed 28 April 28 2020

Andersen H, Wagenknecht S (2013) Epistemic dependence in interdisciplinary groups. Synthese 190:1881-1898

Armstrong F, Capon A, McFarlane R (2020) Coronavirus is a wake-up call: our war with the environment is leading to pandemics. The Conversation. [https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-a-wake-up-call-our-war-with-the-environment-is-leading-to-pandemics-135023] Accessed 10 May 2020

Assis F (2020) O vírus e a importância da ciência. Público, 21 March 2020. [https://www.publico.pt/2020/03/21/opiniao/opiniao/virus-importancia-ciencia-1908801] Accessed 10 May 2020

Barker G, Kitcher P (2013) Philosophy of Science: A New Introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

Barrenho E, Miraldo M, Smith PC (2019) Does global drug innovation correspond to burden of disease? The neglected diseases in developed and developing countries. Health Economics 28(1):123-143

Bechtel W, Richardson RC (2010) Discovering Complexity: Decomposition and Localization as Strategies in Scientific Research. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA

Bocquet-Appel JP (2011) When the world’s population took off: the springboard of the Neolithic demographic transition. Science 333:560-561

Bonilla-Aldana DK, Dhama K, Rodriguez-Morales AJ (2020) Revisiting the One Health Approach in the context of COVID-19: a look into the ecology of this emerging disease. Advances in Animal and Veterinary Sciences 8(3):234-237

Cant S (2020) Medical pluralism, mainstream marginality or subaltern therapeutics? Globalisation and the integration of ‘Asian’ medicines and biomedicine in the UK. Society and Culture in South Asia 6(1):31-51

Chan JFW, Kok KH, Zhu Z, Chu H, To KKW, Yuan S, Yuen KY (2020) Genomic characterization of the 2019 novel human-pathogenic coronavirus isolated from a patient with atypical pneumonia after visiting Wuhan. Emerging Microbes & Infections 9(1):221-236

Chan-Yeung M, Xu RH (2003) SARS: epidemiology. Respirology 8:S9-S14

Dayrit MM, Mendoza RU (2020) Social cohesion vs COVID-19, preprint, [https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3555152] Accessed 10 May 2020

de Wit E, van Doremalen N, Falzarano D, Munster VJ (2016) SARS and MERS: recent insights into emerging coronaviruses. Nature Reviews Microbiology 14:523-534

Díaz S, Demissew S, Carabias J, Joly C, Lonsdale M, Ash N, Larigauderie A, Adhikari JR, Arico S, Báldi A et al. (2015) The IPBES Conceptual Framework—connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14:1-16

Douglas HE (2009) Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Dupré J (1995) The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, USA

Eichenbaum MS, Rebelo S, Trabandt M (2020) The macroeconomics of epidemics. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Paper Series, Working Paper 26882 [https://www.nber.org/papers/w26882.pdf] Accessed 10 May 2020

El-Sayed A, Kamel M (2020) Climatic changes and their role in emergence and re-emergence of diseases. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, in press, doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-08896-w Accessed 11 May 2020

Fitzpatrick C, Nwankwo U, Lenk E, de Vlas SJ, Bundy DAP (2017) An investment case for ending neglected tropical diseases. In: Holmes KK, Bertozzi S, Bloom BR, Jha P (eds) Major Infectious Diseases. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 411-431

French RK, Holmes EC (2020) An ecosystems perspective on virus evolution and emergence. Trends in Microbiology 28(3):165-175

Galison P, Stump D (1996) The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, USA

Huntington HP (2000) Using traditional ecological knowledge in science: methods and applications. Ecological Applications 10(5):1270-1274

Jia W, Gao W (2003) Is traditional Chinese medicine useful in the treatment of SARS? Phytotherapy Research 17:840-841

Kincaid H, Dupré J, Wylie A (2007) Value-Free Science? Ideals and Illusions. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

Kitcher P (2003) Science, Truth, and Democracy. revised ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

Lacey H (1999) Is Science Value Free? Values and Scientific Understanding. Routledge, New York, NY, USA

Lacey H (2014) On the co-unfolding of scientific knowledge and viable values. In: Schroeder-Heister P, Heinzmann G, Hodges W, Bour PE (eds) Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Congress (Nancy). College Publ., Milton Keynes, UK, pp. 269–284

Lacey H (2015) Food and agricultural systems for the future: science, emancipation and human flourishing. Journal of Critical Realism 14(3):272-286

Lansing JS (2007) Priests and Programmers: Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Bali. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA

Lansing JS, Kremer JN (1993) Emergent properties of Balinese Water Temple networks: coadaptation on a rugged fitness landscape. American Anthropologist 95(1):97-114

Latour B (2020) Imaginer les gestes-barrières contre le retour à la production d’avant-crise. AOC-Media [https://aoc.media/opinion/2020/03/29/imaginer-les-gestes-barrieres-contre-le-retour-a-la-production-davant-crise/] Accessed 10 May 2020

Lau LS, Samari G, Moresky RT, Casey SE, Kachur SP, Roberts LF, Zard M (2020) COVID-19 in humanitarian settings and lessons learned from past epidemics. Nature Medicine 26:640-648

Leach M (2020) Echoes of Ebola: social and political warnings for the COVID-19 response in African settings. Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, and Anthropology [http://somatosphere.net/forumpost/echoes-of-ebola/] Accessed 10 May 2020

Leite C (2020) Valorização da ciência brasileira será legado pós-pandemia. OPovo, 5 April 2020 [https://mais.opovo.com.br/jornal/reportagem/2020/04/05/valorizacao-da-ciencia-brasileira-sera-legado-pos-pandemia.html/ Accessed 10 May 2020

Levins R, Lewontin R (1985) The Dialectical Biologist. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, USA

Liu J, Cao R, Xu M, Wang X, Zhang H, Hu H, Li Y, Hu Z, Zhong W, Wang M (2020) Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, is effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. Cell Discovery 6:16

Liu Y, Gayle AA, Wilder-Smith A, Rocklöv J (2020) The reproductive number of COVID-19 is higher compared to SARS coronavirus. Journal of Travel Medicine 27(2):taaa021

Logie CH, Turan JM (2020) How do we balance tensions between COVID‑19 public health responses and stigma mitigation? Learning from HIV research. AIDS and Behavior, in press, doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02856-8 Accessed 10 May 2020

Longino H (1990) Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA

Ludwig D, El-Hani CN (2020) Philosophy of ethnobiology: understanding knowledge integration and its limitations. Journal of Ethnobiology 40(1):3-20

Mahase E (2020) Coronavirus: covid-19 has killed more people than SARS and MERS combined, despite lower case fatality rate. BMJ 368:m641

Marion GS, Dunbar RB, Mucciarone DA, Kremer JN, Lansing JS, Arthawiguna A (2005) Coral skeletal 15N reveals isotopic traces of an agricultural revolution. Marine Pollution Bulletin 50(9):931-944

Nabi G, Siddique R, Ali A, Khan S (2020) Preventing bat-born viral outbreaks in future using ecological interventions. Environmental Research 185:109460

Nava A, Shimabukuro JS, Chmura AA, Luz SLB (2017) The impact of global environmental changes on infectious disease emergence with a focus on risks for Brazil. ILAR Journal 58(3):393-400

Orgilés M, Morales A, Delvecio E, Mazzeschi C, Espada JP (2020) Immediate psychological effects of the COVID-19 quarantine in youth from Italy and Spain. PsyArXiv preprints [https://psyarxiv.com/5bpfz/] Accessed 10 May 2020

Pasternak S, D’Ottaviano C (2016) Favelas no Brasil e em São Paulo: avanços nas análises a partir da Leitura Territorial do Censo de 2010. Cadernos Metrópole 18:75-99

Rangel TF, Diniz-Filho JAF, Toscano CM (2020) Modelagem da expansão espaçotemporal da COVID-19 em Goiás. Nota Técnica 01 – Grupo de Trabalho em Modelagem da Expansão Espaço-Temporal da COVID-19 em Goiás [http://estat.bio.br/covid/CovidGONT01.pdf] Accessed 10 May 2020

Reiss J, Sprenger J (2017) Scientific objectivity. In: Zalta EN (ed) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition) [https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/scientific-objectivity/] Accessed 11 May 2020

Ren JL, Zhang AH, Wang XJ (2020) Traditional Chinese medicine for COVID-19 treatment. Pharmacological Research 155:104743

Rittel HWJ, Webber MM (1973) Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences 4:155-169

Roberts N (2000) Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution. International Public Management Review 1(1):1-19

Santos BS (2010) Para além do pensamento abissal: das linhas globais a uma ecologia de saberes. In: Santos BS, Meneses MP (orgs) Epistemologias do Sul. 2 ed. Almedina/CES, Coimbra, Portugal, pp. 23-71

Santos BS (2020) A Cruel Pedagogia do Vírus. Almedina, Coimbra, Portugal

Santos BS, Meneses MP (orgs) (2010) Epistemologias do Sul. 2 ed. Almedina/CES, Coimbra, Portugal

Saviano M, Barile S, Caputo F, Lettieri M, Zanda S (2019) From rare to neglected diseases: a sustainable and inclusive healthcare perspective for reframing the orphan drugs issue. Sustainability 11(5):1289

Scholz RW, Steiner G (2015) The real type and ideal type of transdisciplinary processes: part I—theoretical foundations. Sustainability Science 10(4):527-544

Shah S (2006) The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World’s Poorest Patients. The New Press, New York, NY, USA

Shrader-Frechette KS, McCoy ED (1993) Method in Ecology: Strategies for Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

Smith J (2020) Containing COVID-19 will devastate the economy. Here’s the economic case for why it’s still our best option (based on the research of M. Eichenbaum, S. Rebelo and M. Trabandt). KellogInsight, 26 March 2020 [https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/economic-cost-coronavirus-recession-covid-deaths] Accessed 10 May 2020

Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA, Folke C, Gerten D, Heinke J, Mace GM, Persson LM, Ramanathan V, Reyers B, Sörlin S (2015) Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347:1259855

Tengö M, Hill R, Malmer P, Raymond CM, Spierenburg M, Danielsen F, Elmqvist T, Folke C (2017) Weaving knowledge systems in IPBES, CBD and beyond - lessons learned for sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26-27:17-25

UNESCO-COMEST (2005) The Precautionary Principle. UNESCO/World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, Paris, France

USA Today Editorial Board (2020) Coronavirus crisis is a Sputnik opportunity to reverse the anti-science pandemic. USA Today, 13 April 2020 [https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/04/13/coronavirus-sputnik-opportunity-reverse-anti-science-pandemic-editorials-debates/5103665002/] Accessed 10 May 2020

Van Bavel JJ, Baicker K, Boggio PS, Capraro V, Cichocka A, Cikara M, Crockett MJ, Crum AJ, Douglas KM, Druckman JN, Drury J, Dube O, Ellemers N, Finkel EJ, Fowler JH, Gelfand M, Han S, Haslam SA, Jetten J, Kitayama S, Mobbs D, Napper LE, Packer DJ, Pennycook G, Peters E, Petty RE, Rand DG, Reicher SD, Schnall S, Shariff A, Skitka LJ, Smith SS, Sunstein CR, Tabri N, Tucker JA, van der Linden S, Van Lange PAM, Weeden KA, Wohl MJA, Zaki J, Zion S, Willer R (2020) Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nature Human Behavior, in press, doi: 10.1038/s41562-020-0884-z Accessed 10 May 2020

Viner RM, Russell SJ, Croker H, Packer J, Ward J, Stansfield C, Mytton O, Bonell C, Booy R (2020) School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review. Lancet Child & Adolescent Health 4(5):397-404

Vogeler I [1981](2019) The land-grant college system. In: The Myth of the Family Farm: Agribusiness Dominance of U.S. Agriculture. Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 195-215

Wang G, Zhang Y, Zhao J, Zhang J, Jiang F (2020) Mitigate the effects of home confinement on children during the COVID-19 outbreak. Lancet 395:945-947

Wilder-Smith A, Freedman DO (2020) Isolation, quarantine, social distancing and community containment: pivotal role for old-style public health measures in the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Journal of Travel Medicine 27(2):taaa020

Wu Z, McGoogan JM (2020) Characteristics of and important lessons from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China: summary of a report of 72314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. JAMA 323(13):1239-1242

Zhang MM, Liu XM, He L (2004) Effect of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine on SARS: a review of clinical evidence. World Journal of Gastroenterology 10(23):3500-3505


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


SCImago Journal & Country Rank