This essay draws on resources in philosophy, psychology, and related social sciences—specifically, works by Joshua Greene, Jonathan Haidt, George Lakoff, and Martha Nussbaum—to analyze the moral and political dimensions of the recent polarization in the United States related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three questions are addressed: (a) What psychological factors may have contributed to this polarization? (b) Why have conservatives and liberals taken the positions they have on issues relating to the pandemic (e.g., masks, economic reopening, vaccines, science)? and (c) How can we reduce this polarization and work more effectively with others to face societal challenges, despite our differences?
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