Coping with the 'pointless suffering' of COVID-19

With the current COVID-19 pandemic appearing to inflict suffering indiscriminately, age-old questions have come to the fore, like “why do we suffer?, why do people die young?, is there any point to our physical and emotional pain?”. In his 2018 book, ‘Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering’, Professor Scott Samuelson examines the various philosophies of suffering and attempts to tackle these hardest questions of all. Here he talks to Dr Raj Persaud about the conclusions he has drawn from these theories, and how this may help us to cope with suffering at this challenging time.

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Date published: 5 June 2020

Presenter: Dr Raj Persaud

Interviewee: Professor Scott Samuelson

Audio running time: 55 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will have gained an understanding of:


  • some of the historical and more modern philosophies of our relationship with suffering


  • the personal growth that can be obtained by confronting 'pointless' suffering


  • how doctors can support their patients during times when there is no easy answer or cure.



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