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"It is just, though forbidden, to bury Polynices, as being naturally just": these words, in Aristotle's view, implied the supremacy of general laws over particular laws, of allegiance towards humankind over allegiance towards a particular community, of distance over closeness. But as Aristotle himself remarked, both distance and closeness are ambivalent concepts; moreover, they are submitted to temporal and spatial constraints. As we have seen, distance, if pushed to an extreme, can generate a total lack of compassion for our fellow humans. We may ask, How can we trace the boundary between distance and extreme distance? Or, to put it in another way, What are the historical limits of an alleged natural passion such as human compassion?" --"Killing a Chinese Mandarin: The Moral Implications of Distance"

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Distance is a numerical measurement of how far apart objects are. In physics or everyday usage, distance may refer to a physical length or an estimation based on other criteria (e.g. "two counties over"). In most cases, "distance from A to B" is interchangeable with "distance from B to A". In mathematics, a distance function or metric is a generalization of the concept of physical distance. A metric is a function that behaves according to a specific set of rules, and is a way of describing what it means for elements of some space to be "close to" or "far away from" each other.

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