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  1. On individual and shared obligations: in defense of the activist’s perspective.Gunnar Björnsson - 2021 - In Budolfson Mark, McPherson Tristram & Plunkett David (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press.
    We naturally attribute obligations to groups, and take such obligations to have consequences for the obligations of group members. The threat posed by anthropogenic climate change provides an urgent case. It seems that we, together, have an obligation to prevent climate catastrophe, and that we, as individuals, have an obligation to contribute. However, understood strictly, attributions of obligations to groups might seem illegitimate. On the one hand, the groups in question—the people alive today, say—are rarely fully-fledged moral agents, making it (...)
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  • Phenomenal consciousness, collective mentality, and collective moral responsibility.Matthew Baddorf - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2769-2786.
    Are corporations and other complex groups ever morally responsible in ways that do not reduce to the moral responsibility of their members? Christian List, Phillip Pettit, Kendy Hess, and David Copp have recently defended the idea that they can be. For them, complex groups (sometimes called collectives) can be irreducibly morally responsible because they satisfy the conditions for morally responsible agency; and this view is made more plausible by the claim (made by Theiner) that collectives can have minds. In this (...)
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  • Collectives’ and individuals’ obligations: a parity argument.Stephanie Collins & Holly Lawford-Smith - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):38-58.
    Individuals have various kinds of obligations: keep promises, don’t cause harm, return benefits received from injustices, be partial to loved ones, help the needy and so on. How does this work for group agents? There are two questions here. The first is whether groups can bear the same kinds of obligations as individuals. The second is whether groups’ pro tanto obligations plug into what they all-things-considered ought to do to the same degree that individuals’ pro tanto obligations plug into what (...)
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  • What is it Like to be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  • Normative Responsibilities: Structure and Sources.Gunnar Björnsson & Bengt Brülde - 2016 - In Kristien Hens, Daniela Cutas & Dorothee Horstkötter (eds.), Parental Responsibility in the Context of Neuroscience and Genetics. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 13–33.
    Attributions of what we shall call normative responsibilities play a central role in everyday moral thinking. It is commonly thought, for example, that parents are responsible for the wellbeing of their children, and that this has important normative consequences. Depending on context, it might mean that parents are morally required to bring their children to the doctor, feed them well, attend to their emotional needs, or to see to it that someone else does. Similarly, it is sometimes argued that countries (...)
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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • Collective responsibility.Marion Smiley - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This essay discusses the nature of collective responsibility and explores various controversies associated with its possibility and normative value.
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  • Business ethics.Alexei Marcoux - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • On the culpable ignorance of group agents: the group justification thesis.Nathan W. Biebel - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    People are often responsible for what they do, but they also often possess an excuse. One of the most common excuses is ignorance. Not all ignorance constitutes an excuse, however, for some ignorance is culpable and culpable ignorance is no excuse. But what about group agents? In our everyday practices, we blame group agents constantly. But if groups can be blameworthy, they plausibly can also be excused. Surely one such excuse is ignorance. But, as with individual agents, some group ignorance (...)
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  • No Agent in the Machine: Being Trustworthy and Responsible about AI.Niël Henk Conradie & Saskia K. Nagel - 2024 - Philosophy and Technology 37 (2):1-24.
    Many recent AI policies have been structured under labels that follow a particular trend: national or international guidelines, policies or regulations, such as the EU’s and USA’s ‘Trustworthy AI’ and China’s and India’s adoption of ‘Responsible AI’, use a label that follows the recipe of [agentially loaded notion + ‘AI’]. A result of this branding, even if implicit, is to encourage the application by laypeople of these agentially loaded notions to the AI technologies themselves. Yet, these notions are appropriate only (...)
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  • Find the Gap: AI, Responsible Agency and Vulnerability.Shannon Vallor & Tillmann Vierkant - 2024 - Minds and Machines 34 (3):1-23.
    The responsibility gap, commonly described as a core challenge for the effective governance of, and trust in, AI and autonomous systems (AI/AS), is traditionally associated with a failure of the epistemic and/or the control condition of moral responsibility: the ability to know what we are doing and exercise competent control over this doing. Yet these two conditions are a red herring when it comes to understanding the responsibility challenges presented by AI/AS, since evidence from the cognitive sciences shows that individual (...)
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  • States’ culpability through time.Stephanie Collins - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (5):1345-1368.
    Some contemporary states are morally culpable for historically distant wrongs. But which states for which wrongs? The answer is not obvious, due to secessions, unions, and the formation of new states in the time since the wrongs occurred. This paper develops a framework for answering the question. The argument begins by outlining a picture of states’ agency on which states’ culpability is distinct from the culpability of states’ members. It then outlines, and rejects, a plausible-seeming answer to our question: that (...)
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  • Excusing Corporate Wrongdoing and the State of Nature.Kenneth Silver & Paul Garofalo - forthcoming - Academy of Management Review.
    Most business ethicists maintain that corporate actors are subject to a variety of moral obligations. However, there is a persistent and underappreciated concern that the competitive pressures of the market somehow provide corporate actors with a far-reaching excuse from meeting these obligations. Here, we assess this concern. Blending resources from the history of philosophy and strategic management, we demonstrate the assumptions required for and limits of this excuse. Applying the idea of ‘the state of nature’ from Thomas Hobbes, we suggest (...)
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  • Group Responsibility and Historicism.Stephanie Collins & Niels de Haan - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):754-776.
    In this paper, we focus on the moral responsibility of organized groups in light of historicism. Historicism is the view that any morally responsible agent must satisfy certain historical conditions, such as not having been manipulated. We set out four examples involving morally responsible organized groups that pose problems for existing accounts of historicism. We then pose a trilemma: one can reject group responsibility, reject historicism, or revise historicism. We pursue the third option. We formulate a Manipulation Condition and a (...)
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  • Agent‐Switching, Plight Inescapability, and Corporate Agency.Olof Leffler - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Realists about group agency, according to whom corporate agents may have mental states and perform actions over and above those of their individual members, think that individual agents may switch between participating in individual and corporate agency. My aim is, however, to argue that the inescapability of individual agency spells out a difficulty for this kind of switching – and, therefore, for realism about corporate agency. To do so, I develop Korsgaard's notion of plight inescapability. On my take, it suggests (...)
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  • Collective Agents as Moral Actors.Säde Hormio - forthcoming - In Säde Hormio & Bill Wringe (eds.), Collective Responsibility: Perspectives on Political Philosophy from Social Ontology. Springer.
    How should we make sense of praise and blame and other such reactions towards collective agents like governments, universities, or corporations? Collective agents can be appropriate targets for our moral feelings and judgements because they can maintain and express moral positions of their own. Moral agency requires being capable of recognising moral considerations and reasons. It also necessitates the ability to react reflexively to moral matters, i.e. to take into account new moral concerns when they arise. While members of a (...)
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  • Guilty Artificial Minds: Folk Attributions of Mens Rea and Culpability to Artificially Intelligent Agents.Michael T. Stuart & Markus Https://Orcidorg Kneer - 2021 - Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 5 (CSCW2).
    While philosophers hold that it is patently absurd to blame robots or hold them morally responsible [1], a series of recent empirical studies suggest that people do ascribe blame to AI systems and robots in certain contexts [2]. This is disconcerting: Blame might be shifted from the owners, users or designers of AI systems to the systems themselves, leading to the diminished accountability of the responsible human agents [3]. In this paper, we explore one of the potential underlying reasons for (...)
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  • Societies as Group Agents.Michelle M. Dyke - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Could an entire society count as an agent in its own right? I argue here that it could. While previous defenders of group agency have focused primarily on groups such as states and corporations that exhibit a great deal of formalized internal structure, less attention has been devoted to more loosely structured social groups. I focus on defending the claims that societies can have ends or goals and that they engage in end-directed behavior. I defend this view by responding to (...)
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  • Zombies Incorporated.Olof Leffler - 2023 - Theoria 89 (5):640-659.
    How should we understand the relation between corporate agency, corporate moral agency and corporate moral patienthood? For some time, corporations have been treated as increasingly ontologically and morally sophisticated in the literature. To explore the limits of this treatment, I start off by redeveloping and defending a reductio that historically has been aimed at accounts of corporate agency which entail that corporations count as moral patients. More specifically, I argue that standard agents are due a certain type of moral concern, (...)
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  • Re-bunking corporate agency.Kendy M. Hess - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    My aim in this article is to rescue the holist position on corporate agency (CA) from indignities heaped upon it by friends and enemies alike. Two general criticisms strike at the core of the position: the charge of ‘material failures’ (that the corporate agent lacks a proper material presence) and the charge of illusion (that the intentionality of the corporate agent consists in the intentionality of the members). Both attack the holist position on metaphysical grounds, logically prior to any claims (...)
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  • Desire, Disagreement, and Corporate Mental States.Olof Leffler - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue against group agent realism, or the view that groups have irreducible mental states. If group agents have irreducible mental states, as realists assume, then the best group agent realist explanation of corporate agents features only basic mental states with at most one motivational function each. But the best group agent realist explanation of corporate agents does not feature only basic mental states with at most one motivational function each. So corporate agents lack irreducible mental states. How so? I (...)
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  • Group blameworthiness and group rights.Stephanie Collins - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The following pair of claims is standardly endorsed by philosophers working on group agency: (1) groups are capable of irreducible moral agency and, therefore, can be blameworthy; (2) groups are not capable of irreducible moral patiency, and, therefore, lack moral rights. This paper argues that the best case for (1) brings (2) into question. Section 2 paints the standard picture, on which groups’ blameworthiness derives from their functionalist or interpretivist moral agency, while their lack of moral rights derives from their (...)
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  • A Pluralist Approach to Joint Responsibility.Nicolai K. Knudsen - 2023 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 51 (2):140-165.
    Philosophy &Public Affairs, Volume 51, Issue 2, Page 140-165, Spring 2023.
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  • Climate obligations and social norms.Stephanie Collins - 2023 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (2):103-125.
    Many governments are failing to act sufficiently strongly on climate change. Given this, what should motivated affluent individuals in high-consumption societies do? This paper argues that social norms are a particularly valuable target for individual climate action. Within norm-promotion, the paper makes the case for a focus on anti-fossil fuel norms specifically. Section 1 outlines gaps in the existing literature on individuals’ climate change obligations. Section 2 characterises social norms. Section 3 provides seven reasons why social norms are a particularly (...)
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  • Trusting groups.Matthew Bennett - 2024 - Philosophical Psychology 37 (1):196-215.
    Katherine Hawley was skeptical about group trust. Her main reason for this skepticism was that the distinction between trust and reliance, central to many theories of interpersonal trust, does not apply to trust in groups. Hawley’s skeptical arguments successfully shift the burden of proof to those who wish to continue with a concept of group trust. Nonetheless, I argue that a commitments account of the trust/reliance distinction can shoulder that burden. According to that commitments account, trust is a distinctive kind (...)
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  • Corporate Moral Credit.Grant J. Rozeboom - 2024 - Business Ethics Quarterly 34 (2):303-330.
    When do companies deserve moral credit for doing what is right? This question concerns the positive side of corporate moral responsibility, the negative side of which is the more commonly discussed issue of when companies are blameworthy for doing what is wrong. I offer a broadly functionalist account of how companies can act from morally creditworthy motives, which defuses the following Strawsonian challenge to the claim that they can: morally creditworthy motivation involves being guided by attitudes of “goodwill” for others, (...)
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  • Engineering responsibility.Nicholas Sars - 2022 - Ethics and Information Technology 24 (3):1-10.
    Many optimistic responses have been proposed to bridge the threat of responsibility gaps which artificial systems create. This paper identifies a question which arises if this optimistic project proves successful. On a response-dependent understanding of responsibility, our responsibility practices themselves at least partially determine who counts as a responsible agent. On this basis, if AI or robot technology advance such that AI or robot agents become fitting participants within responsibility exchanges, then responsibility itself might be engineered. If we have good (...)
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  • Collective moral agency and self-induced moral incapacity.Niels de Haan - 2023 - Philosophical Explorations 26 (1):1-22.
    Collective moral agents can cause their own moral incapacity. If an agent is morally incapacitated, then the agent is exempted from responsibility. Due to self-induced moral incapacity, corporate responsibility gaps resurface. To solve this problem, I first set out and defend a minimalist account of moral competence for group agents. After setting out how a collective agent can cause its own moral incapacity, I argue that self-induced temporary exempting conditions do not free an agent from diachronic responsibility once the agent (...)
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  • Business Firms as Moral Agents: A Kantian Response to the Corporate Autonomy Problem.William Rehg - 2023 - Journal of Business Ethics 183 (4):999-1009.
    The idea that business firms qualify as group moral agents offers an attractive basis for understanding corporate moral responsibility. However, that idea gives rise to the “corporate autonomy problem” (CAP): if firms are moral agents, then it seems we must accept the implausible conclusion that firms have basic moral rights, such as the rights to life and liberty. The question, then, is how one might retain the fruitful idea of firms as moral agents, yet avoid CAP. A common approach to (...)
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  • Relationships, Authority, and Reasons: A Second-Personal Account of Corporate Moral Agency.Alan D. Morrison, Rita Mota & William J. Wilhelm - 2022 - Business Ethics Quarterly 32 (2):322-347.
    We present asecond-personalaccount of corporate moral agency. This approach is in contrast to thefirst-personalapproach adopted in much of the existing literature, which concentrates on the corporation’s ability to identify moral reasons for itself. Our account treats relationships and communications as the fundamental building blocks of moral agency. The second-personal account rests on a framework developed by Darwall. Its central requirement is that corporations be capable of recognizing the authority relations that they have with other moral agents. We discuss the relevance (...)
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  • The Loving State.Adam Lovett - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1.
    I explore the idea that the state should love its citizens. It should not be indifferent towards them. Nor should it merely respect them. It should love them. We begin by looking at the bases of this idea. First, it can be grounded by a concern with state subordination. The state has enormous power over its citizens. This threatens them with subordination. Love ameliorates this threat. Second, it can be grounded by the state's lack of moral status. We all have (...)
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  • Non‐paradigmatic punishments.Helen Brown Coverdale & Bill Wringe - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12824.
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 17, Issue 5, May 2022.
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  • How to Evaluate Managerial Nudges.Grant J. Rozeboom - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 182 (4):1073-1086.
    A central reason to worry that managers should not use nudges to influence employees is that doing so fails to treat employees as _rational_ and/or _autonomous_ (RA). Recent nudge defenders have marshaled a powerful line of response against this worry: in general, nudges treat us as the kind of RA agents we are, because nudges are apt to enhance our limited capacities for RA agency by improving our decision-making environments. Applied to managerial nudges, this would mean that when managers nudge (...)
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  • Group Responsibility.Christian List - 2022 - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Are groups ever capable of bearing responsibility, over and above their individual members? This chapter discusses and defends the view that certain organized collectives – namely, those that qualify as group moral agents – can be held responsible for their actions, and that group responsibility is not reducible to individual responsibility. The view has important implications. It supports the recognition of corporate civil and even criminal liability in our legal systems, and it suggests that, by recognizing group agents as loci (...)
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  • Group Agency and Artificial Intelligence.Christian List - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology (4):1-30.
    The aim of this exploratory paper is to review an under-appreciated parallel between group agency and artificial intelligence. As both phenomena involve non-human goal-directed agents that can make a difference to the social world, they raise some similar moral and regulatory challenges, which require us to rethink some of our anthropocentric moral assumptions. Are humans always responsible for those entities’ actions, or could the entities bear responsibility themselves? Could the entities engage in normative reasoning? Could they even have rights and (...)
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  • I, Volkswagen.Stephanie Collins - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (2):283-304.
    Philosophers increasingly argue that collective agents can be blameworthy for wrongdoing. Advocates tend to endorse functionalism, on which collectives are analogous to complicated robots. This is puzzling: we don’t hold robots blameworthy. I argue we don’t hold robots blameworthy because blameworthiness presupposes the capacity for a mental state I call ‘moral self-awareness’. This raises a new problem for collective blameworthiness: collectives seem to lack the capacity for moral self-awareness. I solve the problem by giving an account of how collectives have (...)
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  • Group Action Without Group Minds.Kenneth Silver - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):321-342.
    Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...)
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  • What it Might Be like to Be a Group Agent.Max F. Kramer - 2021 - Neuroethics 14 (3):437-447.
    Many theorists have defended the claim that collective entities can attain genuine agential status. If collectives can be agents, this opens up a further question: can they be conscious? That is, is there something that it is like to be them? Eric Schwitzgebel argues that yes, collective entities, may well be significantly conscious. Others, including Kammerer, Tononi and Koch, and List reject the claim. List does so on the basis of Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory of consciousness. I argue here that (...)
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  • Business Ethics.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This article provides an overview of the field of business ethics.
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  • Could our epistemic reasons be collective practical reasons?Michelle M. Dyke - 2021 - Noûs 55 (4):842-862.
    Are epistemic reasons merely a species of instrumental practical reasons, making epistemic rationality a specialized form of instrumental practical rationality? Or are epistemic reasons importantly different in kind? Despite the attractions of the former view, Kelly (2003) argues quite compellingly that epistemic rationality cannot be merely a matter of taking effective means to one’s epistemic ends. I argue here that Kelly’s objections can be sidestepped if we understand epistemic reasons as instrumental reasons that arise in light of the aims held (...)
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  • Amelioration vs. Perversion.Teresa Marques - 2020 - In Teresa Marques & Åsa Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Words change meaning, usually in unpredictable ways. But some words’ meanings are revised intentionally. Revisionary projects are normally put forward in the service of some purpose – some serve specific goals of inquiry, and others serve ethical, political or social aims. Revisionist projects can ameliorate meanings, but they can also pervert. In this paper, I want to draw attention to the dangers of meaning perversions, and argue that the self-declared goodness of a revisionist project doesn’t suffice to avoid meaning perversions. (...)
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  • Consciousness, belief, and the group mind hypothesis.Søren Overgaard & Alessandro Salice - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1-25.
    According to the Group Mind Hypothesis, a group can have beliefs over and above the beliefs of the individual members of the group. Some maintain that there can be group mentality of this kind in the absence of any group-level phenomenal consciousness. We present a challenge to the latter view. First, we argue that a state is not a belief unless the owner of the state is disposed to access the state’s content in a corresponding conscious judgment. Thus, if there (...)
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  • Collective responsibility and collective obligations without collective moral agents.Gunnar Björnsson - 2020 - In Saba Bazargan-Forward & Deborah Tollefsen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Responsibility. Routledge.
    It is commonplace to attribute obligations to φ or blameworthiness for φ-ing to groups even when no member has an obligation to φ or is individually blameworthy for not φ-ing. Such non-distributive attributions can seem problematic in cases where the group is not a moral agent in its own right. In response, it has been argued both that non-agential groups can have the capabilities requisite to have obligations of their own, and that group obligations can be understood in terms of (...)
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  • Culpable ignorance in a collective setting.Säde Hormio - 2018 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 94:7-34.
    This paper explores types of organisational ignorance and ways in which organisational practices can affect the knowledge we have about the causes and effects of our actions. I will argue that because knowledge and information are not evenly distributed within an organisation, sometimes organisational design alone can create individual ignorance. I will also show that sometimes the act that creates conditions for culpable ignorance takes place at the collective level. This suggests that quality of will of an agent is not (...)
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  • Marginal participation, complicity, and agnotology: What climate change can teach us about individual and collective responsibility.Säde Hormio - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Helsinki
    The topic of my thesis is individual and collective responsibility for collectively caused systemic harms, with climate change as the case study. Can an individual be responsible for these harms, and if so, how? Furthermore, what does it mean to say that a collective is responsible? A related question, and the second main theme, is how ignorance and knowledge affect our responsibility. -/- My aim is to show that despite the various complexities involved, an individual can have responsibility to address (...)
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  • Does the Machine Need a Ghost? Corporate Agents as Nonconscious Kantian Moral Agents.Kendy M. Hess - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (1):67-86.
    Does Kantian moral agency require phenomenal consciousness? More to the point, can firms be Kantian moral agents—bound by Kantian obligations—in the absence of consciousness? After sketching the mechanics of my account of corporate agents, I consider three increasingly demanding accounts of Kantian moral agency, concluding that corporate agents can meet each successively higher threshold. They can act on universalizable principles and treat humanity as an end in itself; give such principlesto themselves,treattheir own‘humanity’ as an end itself, and act out of (...)
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  • What in the World Is Collective Responsibility?Alberto Giubilini & Neil Levy - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):191-217.
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  • Who's Responsible? (It's Complicated.) Assigning Blame in the Wake of the Financial Crisis.Kendy M. Hess - 2018 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 42 (1):133-155.
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  • Collective Agency: Moral and Amoral.Frank Hindriks - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):3-23.
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  • Responsibility Unincorporated: Corporate Agency and Moral Responsibility.Luis Cheng-Guajardo - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):294-314.
    Those who argue that corporations can be morally responsible for what they do help us to understand how autonomous corporate agency is possible, and those who argue that they cannot be help us maintain distinctive value in human life. Each offers something valuable, but without securing the other's important contribution. I offer an account that secures both. I explain how corporations can be autonomous agents that we can continue to be justified in blaming as responsible agents, but without it also (...)
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