Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Moral Distance

  • Wendy C. Hamblet
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_330

A compelling issue that has captivated philosophers for millennia is the question of the connection between justice and the distance of the moral agent, who enjoys the means to relieve suffering, from the victims of suffering, who are without means. The question of moral distance is crucial to the theme of global justice because those with the means to help the most miserable people on the planet dwell far from the places where the impoverished and disenfranchised huddle. If the needs of unfortunate others can lay claim to the consciences of those well off only in close proximity, then the hopes for a more just world are dashed from the outset.

The question of moral distance has taken on special global implications in the wake of World War II, as post-Holocaust philosophers attempt to understand how the civilized countries of the world stood by and observed, from their various safe distances, but for long years failed to intervene, as European Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mental...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy C. Hamblet
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Liberal StudiesNorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State UniversityGreensboroUSA