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Our indifference towards our fellow humans

The latest commentary by Ryoa Chung on the show ‘Moteur de recherche’ hosted by Matthieu Dugal, on ICI Radio-Canada Première, was about altruism and moral partiality. To listen to the segment, click here.

“Determining whether humans have a natural tendency to care about the fate of their loved ones is a question as complex as it is fascinating. One might also wonder in what instances humans are capable of indifference towards others. Ryoa Chung, a professor of philosophy and co-director of the Center for Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal, is interested in the boundary between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ in human beings and questions the limits of our moral obligations towards others to better understand them.”

“We should demonstrate an impartial altruism that crosses even borders.” This is the conclusion of Peter Singer, whose study is cited by Ryoa Chung. “This famous philosopher based his observations on the reaction of the Western world to televised images of the famine that was ravaging Bengal in the 1970s,” Ryoa Chung explains.

Does this mean we should carry the fate of humanity on our shoulders? Professor Chung gives the example of another thesis which argues that it is perfectly normal and rationally justifiable to give moral priority to people with whom we interact.

PHOTO : Getty Images / Cecilie_Arcurs