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Illingworth, P. (2012). Us Before Me Ethics and Social Capital for Global Well-Being. Palgrave MacMillan

In Us before Me, a philosopher argues that persistent, unabated human suffering requires that the traditional tools of moral philosophy and everyday ethics be supplemented with a new moral principle that shifts the focus from individualism and self- interest to our collective interests. She proposes that social capital, widely recognized as good for individuals and the community, also has important ethical qualities. Treating social capital as a moral principle can override people's reluctance to create social capital because of a concern that others will free ride on their efforts.

Patricia Illingworth takes the position that promoting social capital will increase individual, community and global well-being. As people globalize their social networks, mindful of the moral obligation to act impartialy with respect to social ties, they also promote tolerance, global goodwill and the care and concern needed to alleviate global suffering. The ethics of social capital can override our tendancy to bond with similar other and lift the veil of darkness that overshadows social capital, the inclination towards kinship and tribalism.


PATRICIA ILLINGWORTH is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and in the College of Business Administration at Northeastern University, USA, where she is also a Lecturer in Law. Professor Illingworth has held fellowships at Harvard Law School and at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of AIDS and the Good Society and Trusting Medicine: The Moral Costs of Managed Care, and a co-editor of The Power of Pills and Ethical Healthcare. She is also co-editor with Thomas Pogge and Leif Wenar, of Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy.


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The Heart of the Matter
The Ethics of Us
The Moral Sweet Spot
With a Little Help from the Law
Giving Back
Global People


Illingworth, Patricia

Associate Professor of Philosophy Office: 361 Holmes Hall Email: [email protected] Phone: 617-373-4167 Patricia Illingworth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and in the College of Business Adminstration, as well as a Lecturer in Law at the Northeastern...

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