In the previous chapter I argued that qua human beings, all human beings are morally equal and make equal claims on each other. They are also, however, bound to some of their fellow humans by special ties arising out of mutual commitments, promises, participation in common practices and membership of organizations, and make claims on each other that others do not.1 These ties vary greatly in their intensity and depth. Some are shallow and formal, such as those to fellow members of clubs and to colleagues. At the other extreme they are deep, lifelong, and involve mutual identification and deep emotional engagement, such as those to one’s parents, children, spouse and close friends. Many others, such as those to one’s fellow citizens and neighbours, fall between the two extremes.
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