First generation Frankfurt School critical theorists argued that global solidarity was possible because human beings have similar vulnerabilities to mental and physical suffering. This approach to solidarity remains significant for any discussion of the ethical aspirations of critical theory. It also has ramifications for efforts to develop a sociological approach to global moral codes which is influenced by the idea of an emancipatory social theory. Informed by certain themes which were developed by Simone Weil, this article draws on the writings of Fromm, Horkheimer, Adorno and Elias to consider how a sociology of international moral codes can be developed. One of the aims of this project is to consider how far global moralities have developed forms of solidarity around the recognition of shared vulnerabilities to mental and physical suffering which are part of the species’ biological legacy.