Tag Archives: expanding circle

Peter Singer

It is significant […] that whereas it is easy to find thinkers from different times and places to whom it is intuitively obvious that we have special obligations to those of our own religion, race, or ethnic affiliation, this does not seems so obvious to contemporary ethicists and political theorists. If the strength of intuitions favoring special obligations based on racial and religious affinity is not sufficient grounds for accepting them, then the strength of our intuitions about, say, special obligations based on fellow-citizenship, should also not be sufficient reason for accepting them. Instead, we need another test of whether they should be accepted.

Peter Singer, ‘Outsiders: Our Obligations to those beyond Our Borders’, in Deen K. Chatterjee (ed.), The Ethics of Assistance: Morality and the Distant Needy, Cambridge, 2004, pp. 13-14

Charles Darwin

As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, London, 1871, pp. 100-101