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John Authers

How Coronavirus Is Shaking Up the Moral Universe

The pandemic is putting profound philosophical questions to the test.

The original Rawlsian.

The original Rawlsian.

Photographer: Frederic Reglain/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is a test. It’s a test of medical capacity and political will. It’s a test of endurance and forbearance, for believers a test of religious faith. It’s a test, too, of a different kind of faith, in the strength of the ideas humans choose to help them form moral judgments and guide personal and social behavior.

The epidemic forces everyone to confront deep questions of human existence, questions so profound that they have previously been answered, in many different ways, by the greatest philosophers. It’s a test of where all humans stand.