Beneficence, rights and citizenship

Abstract
What are we morally required to do for strangers? To answer this question – a question about the scope of requirements to aid strangers – we must first answer a question about justification: why are we required to aid them (when we are)? The main paper focuses largely on answering the question about justification, but does so in order to arrive at an answer to the question about scope. Three main issues are discussed. First, to what extent should requirements of beneficence – requirements to benefit other people – be seen as generated by people’s rights to receiving aid? Secondly, what is the relationship between requirements of beneficence that apply to us collectively and requirements of beneficence that apply to each of us individually? According to Liam Murphy, our obligations to help distant strangers are fundamentally collective obligations, and any individual obligations we bear are consequently obligations to discharge our “fair share” of these collective obligations. I shall argue that, on the contrary, there are large-scale collective obligations of beneficence that derive from more fundamental individual obligations. My third issue concerns the moral significance of citizenship. What morally relevant difference is there between strangers who are compatriots and those who are not?
Keywords beneficence  aid  rights  citizenship
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