• Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    It seems rather intuitive that the sphere of interest is a limiting concept in the realm of ethics and morality. We only care about the people that are closest to us. If some random stranger off the street asked you for a hundred dollars for some reason, you wouldn't oblige. But, if your son or daughter or wife or husband asked you for the same favor, you would think twice. Why is this?

    Based on this reasoning it would seem intuitively clear that this is a moral 'should' that needs implementing. It is morally right in some sense to want to increase the sphere of interest to encompass your fellow citizens and humanity. Thus, if there is a philosophy or school of thought (think classical conservativism for example) that encourages or negates these tendencies to increase the sphere of interest, then it seems that a judgment can be passed on their moral worth.

    What do you think?
    What can be done to enlarge our sphere of interest, and if anything should be done at all?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    So, just to break it down.

    P1: We should care about other people to be good moral agents.
    P2: Our sphere of interest limits this concept.
    P3: We should strive to increase the scope of our sphere of interest.
    C1: Therefore, the philosophies that limit the scope of our sphere of interest are morally wrong.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    there are philosophies preventing anyone to not help other?
  • Sapientia
    5.8k
    It seems rather intuitive that the sphere of interest is a limiting concept in the realm of ethics and morality. We only care about the people that are closest to us. If some random stranger off the street asked you for a hundred dollars for some reason, you wouldn't oblige. But, if your son or daughter or wife or husband asked you for the same favor, you would think twice. Why is this?Posty McPostface

    I think you know why that is. It is because they matter more to us. And they matter more to us because we have a closer relationship with them.

    Based on this reasoning it would seem intuitively clear that this is a moral 'should' that needs implementing. It is morally right in some sense to want to increase the sphere of interest to encompass your fellow citizens and humanity. Thus, if there is a philosophy or school of thought (think classical conservativism for example) that encourages or negates these tendencies to increase the sphere of interest, then it seems that a judgment can be passed on their moral worth.Posty McPostface

    Yes, to some extent, but there's quite a difference between, say, arguing against cuts to benefits, and arguing that it should make no difference to someone whether it is their own mother asking for a hundred dollars or a random stranger off of the street.

    What can be done to enlarge our sphere of interest, and if anything should be done at all?Posty McPostface

    For one thing, vote for the Labour Party, or whatever your nearest equivalent is.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    My sphere of interest is larger than myself, my relatives, and my friends. I have no objection to giving a limited amount of money to persons in this "enlarged sphere". What I object to is other people strenuously insisting that I add their favored group to my list of deserving beneficiaries.

    There are hundred of groups who are poor, suffering, oppressed, hungry, thirsty, stateless, homeless, etc. I can't help them all and I can't tell who won the aristocracy of suffering award. Guatemalans? Mexicans? Burmese minorities? Somali? Syrians? Nigerians? Laotians?

    How should I decide, Posty, who is most deserving, or if any of the candidates are deserving?
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    if the argument became: this dosent matter if everyone do there "small" piece to help others." does the matter then become a question of not beliving everyone will do their part, so you wount either?
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    best just to mention this right away; that exemple isnt something I would say :) im not much of a giver.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    actually, that argument would be a great way into guilt-tripping people into donating. if you were an asshole offcourse :meh:
  • gloaming
    41
    "...We only care about the people that are closest to us..."

    Perhaps, to be more precise, we care most about those closest to us. We reserve a special place, a primacy, to those whom we know best and with whom we interact most often and most intimately. If this is the case, I could understand it since I don't know everyone, and couldn't possibly do so or interact with all the world's citizens intimately even on a monthly basis.

    "... But, if your son or daughter or wife or husband asked you for the same favor, you would think twice..."

    I think you meant that I wouldn't think twice. However, you'd be mistaken. With experience and maturity working for me at over 65 years of age, I know better than to act without consideration of ALL kinds. I choose to be careful, to be discerning, late in life. I think it's a duty by now.


    "...It is morally right in some sense to want to increase the sphere of interest to encompass your fellow citizens and humanity..."

    I can't really argue with that; it seems self-evident. I would want the whole planet to treat my grandchildren and their children as they would each other, with equity, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, etc.

    "... Thus, if there is a philosophy or school of thought (think classical conservativism for example) that encourages or negates these tendencies to increase the sphere of interest, then it seems that a judgment can be passed on their moral worth..."


    Does classical conservatism restrict to favour only those known to them? If so, and it's not demonstrated in anything you've offered thus far, are they different from liberals in that way? Perhaps you are conflating provincialism with a desire to see one's own flourish by devoting the limited resources each of them has to that end. It doesn't follow that classical conservatives have little or no positive regard for 'strangers'.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    I wonder if there are any statistics about charity....and if it could be trusted.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    Does classical conservatism restrict to favour only those known to them?gloaming

    its not for everyone
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    i may sound like a bastard now, but im gonna be honest and say that I could never feel love or compassion towards a complete stranger I have never met before, as I would someone I am close to. dosent even come close. to me it dosnt feel natural. I do wonder tho, how many of the "able" are "willing" to give reguarly to charity...
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    I think you know why that is. It is because they matter more to us. And they matter more to us because we have a closer relationship with them.Sapientia

    Yes; I agree. But, on an individual level, why is this?

    Yes, to some extent, but there's quite a difference between, say, arguing against cuts to benefits, and arguing that it should make no difference to someone whether it is their own mother asking for a hundred dollars or a random stranger off of the street.Sapientia

    I guess you can take my argument as in favor of a type of social democracy or political affiliation. I kind of had this in mind in making the OP.

    For one thing, vote for the Labour Party, or whatever your nearest equivalent is.Sapientia

    Agreed.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    My sphere of interest is larger than myself, my relatives, and my friends. I have no objection to giving a limited amount of money to persons in this "enlarged sphere".Bitter Crank

    Cool. You seem to be of that type from what I gather.

    What I object to is other people strenuously insisting that I add their favored group to my list of deserving beneficiaries.Bitter Crank

    Even if this means voting for a socialist who wants to introduce something like Universal Basic Income, or some other redistribution scheme of politics?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    Perhaps, to be more precise, we care most about those closest to us. We reserve a special place, a primacy, to those whom we know best and with whom we interact most often and most intimately. If this is the case, I could understand it since I don't know everyone, and couldn't possibly do so or interact with all the world's citizens intimately even on a monthly basis.gloaming

    What is this a failure of? The amount of knowledge that one has about the needs of others or something different?

    I think you meant that I wouldn't think twice.gloaming

    Depends on the type of person you are. If you do care about others then, I see no problem with that.

    However, you'd be mistaken. With experience and maturity working for me at over 65 years of age, I know better than to act without consideration of ALL kinds. I choose to be careful, to be discerning, late in life. I think it's a duty by now.gloaming

    What do you mean, gloaming?

    I can't really argue with that; it seems self-evident. I would want the whole planet to treat my grandchildren and their children as they would each other, with equity, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, etc.gloaming

    Cool

    Does classical conservatism restrict to favour only those known to them? If so, and it's not demonstrated in anything you've offered thus far, are they different from liberals in that way? Perhaps you are conflating provincialism with a desire to see one's own flourish by devoting the limited resources each of them has to that end. It doesn't follow that classical conservatives have little or no positive regard for 'strangers'.gloaming

    Yes, perhaps you are right. I once heard that religious conservatives contribute the most to charities, moreso than liberals. So, I might be wrong here.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    Yes, perhaps you are right. I once heard that religious conservatives contribute the most to charities, moreso than liberals.Posty McPostface

    what do you think that means?
  • Sir2u
    1.3k
    If some random stranger off the street asked you for a hundred dollars for some reason, you wouldn't oblige.Posty McPostface

    Turn the tables, would you expect someone you did not know to give you money. Would you asking them for it be immoral?
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    It doesn't follow that classical conservatives have little or no positive regard for 'strangersgloaming

    classical conservatives has a positive regard for "strangers" for sure, just not necceserily by the people that are able to help these "strangers"
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    dont think anyone has said that its not OK for begging on the streets
  • Sir2u
    1.3k
    dont think anyone has said that its not OK for begging on the streetsAleksander Kvam

    Me neither. Please read what I said again.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    what do you think that means?Aleksander Kvam

    It just means what it says. That religious conservatives contribute more to the welfare of others in certain domains than do liberals. The same may be true of liberals wrt. to redustributive political schemes such as Social Security, Medicare, and education.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    Turn the tables, would you expect someone you did not know to give you money. Would you asking them for it be immoral?Sir2u

    I meant this figuratively. Just rhetorical tripe, hehe.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    oh ok. im so used to some people say it in a way that they`re saying they are better people for it, and they are in a way, but they say it in a smug way.
  • Relativist
    218
    I agree with the concept that we have a "sphere of interest", but it seems based on emotion rather than reason. Consider a variation on the Trolley Problem: the trolley is heading down the track toward 5 people who are tied to the track. You have control of a lever that can divert it to another track with 1 person tied up: your child. The "rational" thing to do is to sacrifice your child to save 5 others, but - they aren't in your "sphere of interest" - so you won't.

    I not suggesting we can or should abandon our emotions, but we should at least try to temper the impact.
  • Sir2u
    1.3k
    What can be done to enlarge our sphere of interest, and if anything should be done at all?Posty McPostface

    To be honest, I am not sure if there is anything we need to do. Most people I know help to others to the extent that they are able, if not financially by giving them things they need or helping to look after them in some way.

    As individuals, do we really have a moral obligation towards the rest of humanity?
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    the reason I dont give, isnt because im cheap or dislike them or something like that. its because I dont think it will help much. there will allways be problems in the world.
  • Sir2u
    1.3k
    I meant this figuratively. Just rhetorical tripe, hehe.Posty McPostface

    But it is an interesting question.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    I agree with the concept that we have a "sphere of interest", but it seems based on emotion rather than reason.Relativist

    Well, it's both, I think. We can reason that someone needs more than they already have (a homeless); but, we don't feel like giving to them at risk that they spend it on drugs or alcohol. Emotion wasn't at play in any of this reasoning.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    well, it could happen to anyone. I can suddenlly need to beg for money and knowing what I know, I wouldnt be suprised if few gave.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    As individuals, do we really have a moral obligation towards the rest of humanity?Sir2u

    Surely, we do. To some extent. Not saying we should just abandon self-interest, just that would be the ethical thing to do.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    the reason I dont give, isnt because im cheap or dislike them or something like that. its because I dont think it will help much.Aleksander Kvam

    Well, it might help them emotionally. I'm not sure if in the long run, it would help, as you describe.
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