Moral and Ethical Consideration (2)

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Anarchism / Voluntaryism, Logic, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Posted on 26-06-2018

Moral or ethical consideration is spatially limited. (And moreover, limited by capacity or ability.)

That is, the further away a consideration, the less weight is given to it.

For example, should you be in a situation where someone is attacking another person unprovoked, you have a stronger duty to intervene and help the innocent victim. However, for events happening further away, the further away it is, the less duty you have to intervene.

This is made clear by example.

First, consider a morally praiseworthy action that you could perform, but that also requires your physical presence.

Next, consider the viability of you being able to perform that action in your immediate vicinity.

Repeat that consideration for varying distances:

  • Your hometown
  • A nearby city
  • A city 200+ km away
  • A city 1000+ km away
  • A city on the other side of the planet

It becomes increasingly apparent that any expectation for you to perform that action decreases as we go down the list. The reasons should be obvious.

One’s duty to act is on a gradient that coincides with one’s capacity to act.

We cannot expect people to act when they have no capacity or ability to do so.