A simple example may help to bring this out. Suppose a child goes missing and there are fears for her safety. This is equally bad no matter whose child it is, and there are some agents, for instance the police, who should devote equal resources to finding the child in all cases. But there are other agents whose reasons for action will depend on their relationship to the child. If the child is mine, then I have a strong reason, indeed an overwhelming reason, to devote all my time and energy to finding her. If the child comes from my village, then I have a stronge reason to contribute to the search than I would have in the case of a child from another community. Of course if I have information that might help find that distant child, then I should give it to the police at once. It ’s not that I lack any responsibilities to the distant child. But nearly everyone thinks that I have a much greater responsibility to my own child, or to one I am connected to in some other way. The important
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