Reasonable partiality towards compatriots

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1-2):63 - 81 (2005)
Abstract
Ethical theories normally make room both for global duties to human beings everywhere and special duties to those we are attached to in some way. Such a split-level view requires us to specify the kind of attachment that can ground special duties, and to explain the comparative force of the two kinds of duties in cases of conflict. Special duties are generated within groups that are intrinsically valuable and not inherently unjust, where the duties can be shown to be integral to relationships within the group. Since nations can be shown to meet these conditions, acknowledging special obligations towards compatriots is justified. However for such partiality to be reasonable, it must be balanced against recognition of duties of global justice. These duties include duties to respect human rights and duties of fairness towards non-nationals. Weighing such duties against domestic duties of social justice is not a simple task, and the outcome should depend on the precise specification of the duty at stake. In particular, the duty to respect human rights fragments into four sub-duties whose force when set against local duties is markedly different.
Keywords duties  global justice  human rights  justice  nation  national identity  partiality
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