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Arguing for assistance-based responsibilities: are intuitions enough?

Valentini, Laura (2019) Arguing for assistance-based responsibilities: are intuitions enough? Ethics and Global Politics, 12 (1). 24 - 32. ISSN 1654-4951

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Identification Number: 10.1080/16544951.2019.1565606


Millions of people in our world are in need of assistance: from the global poor, to refugees, from the victims of natural disasters, to those of violent crimes. What are our responsibilities towards them? Christian Barry and Gerhard Øverland’s answer is plausible and straightforward: we have enforceable duties to assist others in need whenever we can do so ‘at relatively moderate cost to ourselves, and others’. Barry and Øverland defend this answer on the ground that it best fits our intuitions in a variety of hypothetical rescue scenarios. I argue that, although Barry and Øverland’s view is intuitively appealing, appeal to intuitive cases is insufficient to vindicate it satisfactorily. Intuitive cases alone do not allow us to establish: (i) what costs count as moderate and (ii) whether assistance-based responsibilities are, in fact, enforceable. These considerations suggest that Barry and Øverland’s defence of their preferred answer to the assistance question may be incomplete.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 10:57
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:42

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