Solidarity could be defined in the broad sense either as a means or as an end. Considered as an end, solidarity is the motive of any virtuous action based on altruistic reasons, such as helping others to rescue someone in order to prevent a harmful situation. E. g. contributing to lift and rescue a heavy person, lying unconscious in the street on the floor, who is being handled by rescuers, but who might be needing an additional person, could express the value of solidarity as an end, since an answer to others request for help is given in the situation of emergency and risk, without having a particular obligation to help.
Solidarity as a means (to an end, not an end), could be understood as a property of dependency of a set of parts to a whole (in solidum), as when in a family or a professional group, individual and collective roles and responsibilities are melt together to some extent.This idea of benefiting others could be understood either as a way of sharing together moral sentiments as love, social virtues as friendship and shared commitments and common economic and educational interests, in a limited community circle, that of the family. Even if the division of labour is not simply based on patriarchal authority, mutual consent of family members to rules and to a common circle of interests, those of the family, resemble to a egoism of the group, and not yet to truly social and altruistic values. Solidarity as cohesion of human beings, by the means of "interchangeability of ideas, services, goods, of workforce, virtues and vices", is solidarity limited to the constitution of a process of exchange that is a means that could be used to different ends.