Anna Hartford, ‘Fellow Strangers: Physical Distance and Evaluations of Blameworthiness’

For most of us, often unthinkingly, physical distance deeply informs our sense of moral obligation towards one another, and especially our obligation to offer assistance to those in need. Call this intuitive notion the standard view. We see the assumptions of the standard view at work everywhere. We would consider it utterly depraved to ignore a starving person on our doorstep, whereas it is largely considered permissible to ignore the starvation of distant others (to donate to such causes is often considered philanthropic, rather than obligatory). The standard view is aligned with the influential idea that charity begins at home …

Anna Hartford, Fellow Strangers: Physical Distance and Evaluations of Blameworthiness, Journal of Value Inquiry (2021), Published: 13 July 2021.

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