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Do Unto Others? Sure — If They’re in Our Social Circle

According to a team of Israeli researchers, we instinctively distinguish between two types of harm: active, in which you actively injure someone in some way; and passive, in which you fail to provide needed help. While we feel morally obligated to avoid actively hurting another human being, the ethical imperative to help someone is more qualified if we didn’t directly cause their suffering. In such cases, our impulse to help — or, conversely, to look the other way — largely depends on how close we feel to the person in need.

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