chapter  2
14 Pages

How Not to Understand Reasons of Intimacy

Most of us think that we have reasons to care for our intimates. I am using the term ‘intimate’ to cover, for example, our friends and our family members.1 Most of us show a much greater degree of concern for those people to whom we stand in some special intimate relationship than we show for those people who are strangers to us. If asked, we would probably insist not only that we are justifi ed in doing so, but also that we would not be justifi ed in failing to show such differential concern to our friends and families. There are few types of people that we judge more harshly in moral terms than those who fail to take care of their parents or children, those who betray or neglect their friends, and those who are not generous with their resources with respect to their intimates. In fact, the latter class of people is usually judged more harshly than those who fail to benefi t, through charitable acts or contributions, those people around the world in need of the basic essentials of life.