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Collective Responsibility

Philosophy 23 (84):3 - 18 (1948)

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  1. Collective Responsibility and the Career Military Officer’s Right to Public Dissent.Chad Seagren - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):41-59.
    Current norms among professional military officers that govern obedience and dissent strongly discourage officers from offering public criticism of policy enacted by civilian authorities, even if that policy is immoral, illegal, or unconstitutional. We identify a set of circumstances that create a moral imperative for an officer to take action and we leverage prevailing ethical guidelines to argue that in certain cases, even individual officers not directly involved in the execution of the policy have moral standing to offer public criticism (...)
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  • CSR - the Cuckoo’s Egg in the Business Ethics Nest.Matthias P. Hühn - 2018 - Humanistic Management Journal 3 (2):279-298.
    Corporate/collective moral responsibility is a thorny topic in business ethics and this paper argues that this is due a number of unacknowledged and connected epistemic issues. Firstly, CSR, Corporate Citizenship and many other research streams that are based on the assumption of collective and/or corporate moral responsibility are not compatible with Kantian ethics, consequentialism, or virtue ethics because corporate/collective responsibility violates the axioms and central hypotheses of these research programmes. Secondly, in the absence of a sound theoretical moral philosophical foundation, (...)
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  • Co-Responsibility for Individualists.David Atenasio - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (4):511-530.
    Some argue that if an agent intentionally participates in collective wrongdoing, that agent bears responsibility for contributing actions performed by other members of the agent’s collective. Some of these intention-state theorists distribute co-responsibility to group members by appeal to participatory intentions alone, while others require participants to instantiate additional beliefs or perform additional actions. I argue that prominent intention-state theories of co-responsibility fail to provide a compelling rationale for why participation in collective wrongdoing merits responsibility not only for one’s own (...)
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  • Collective Omissions and Responsibility.Björn Petersson - 2008 - Philosophical Papers 37 (2):243-261.
    Sometimes it seems intuitively plausible to hold loosely structured sets of individuals morally responsible for failing to act collectively. Virginia Held, Larry May, and Torbj rn T nnsj have all drawn this conclusion from thought experiments concerning small groups, although they apply the conclusion to large-scale omissions as well. On the other hand it is commonly assumed that (collective) agency is a necessary condition for (collective) responsibility. If that is true, then how can we hold sets of people responsible for (...)
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  • The Fallacy of Corporate Moral Agency.David Rönnegard (ed.) - 2015 - Springer Netherlands.
    This section aims to summarize and conclude Part I in the form of a taxonomy of legitimate and illegitimate corporate moral responsibility attributions. I believe we can categorise four types of corporate moral responsibility attributions two of which are legitimate and two which are illegitimate with regard to our concept of moral agency and our moral intuition of fairness.
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  • Responsible Computers? A Case for Ascribing Quasi-Responsibility to Computers Independent of Personhood or Agency.Bernd Carsten Stahl - 2006 - Ethics and Information Technology 8 (4):205-213.
    There has been much debate whether computers can be responsible. This question is usually discussed in terms of personhood and personal characteristics, which a computer may or may not possess. If a computer fulfils the conditions required for agency or personhood, then it can be responsible; otherwise not. This paper suggests a different approach. An analysis of the concept of responsibility shows that it is a social construct of ascription which is only viable in certain social contexts and which serves (...)
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  • Epigenetic Responsibility.Maria Hedlund - 2012 - Medicine Studies 3 (3):171-183.
    The purpose of this article is to argue for a position holding that epigenetic responsibility primarily should be a political and not an individual responsibility. Epigenetic is a rapidly growing research field studying regulations of gene expression that do not change the DNA sequence. Knowledge about these mechanisms is still uncertain in many respects, but main presumptions are that they are triggered by environmental factors and life style and, to a certain extent, heritable to subsequent generations, thereby reminding of aspects (...)
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  • Participant Reactive Attitudes and Collective Responsibility.Deborah Perron Tollefsen - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (3):218-234.
    The debate surrounding the issue of collective moral responsibility is often steeped in metaphysical issues of agency and personhood. I suggest that we can approach the metaphysical problems surrounding the issue of collective responsibility in a roundabout manner. My approach is reminiscent of that taken by P.F. Strawson in "Freedom and Resentment" (1968). Strawson argues that the participant reactive attitudes - attitudes like resentment, gratitude, forgiveness and so on - provide the justification for holding individuals morally responsible. I argue that (...)
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  • Duties and Demandingness, Individual and Collective.Marcus Hedahl & Kyle Fruh - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-23.
    Concern regarding overly demanding duties has been a prominent feature of moral debate ever since the possibility was famously sounded out by Bernard Williams nearly fifty years ago. More recently, some theorists have attempted to resolve the issue by reconsidering its underlying structure, drawing attention to the possibility that the duties to respond to large-scale moral issues like global poverty, systemic racism, and climate change may be fundamentally collective duties rather than indi- vidual ones. On this view, the relationship between (...)
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  • An ability-based theory of responsibility for collective omissions.Joseph Metz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (8):2665-2685.
    Many important harms result in large part from our collective omissions, such as harms from our omissions to stop climate change and famines. Accounting for responsibility for collective omissions turns out to be particularly challenging. It is hard to see how an individual contributes anything to a collective omission to prevent harm if she couldn’t have made a difference to that harm on her own. Some groups are able to prevent such harms, but it is highly contentious whether groups can (...)
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  • The Ethics of Business in Wartime.Miguel Alzola - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics 99 (S1):61-71.
    The orthodox account of the morality of war holds that the responsibility for resorting to war rests on the state’s political authorities and the responsibility for how the war is waged rests only on the state’s army and, thus, business firms have no special obligations in wartime. The purpose of this article is to reconsider the ethical responsibilities of business firms in wartime. I defend the claim that a plausible standard of liability in war must integrate the degree of the (...)
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  • Editor's Introduction.J. Angelo Corlett - 1997 - The Journal of Ethics 1 (1):1-2.
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  • How Autonomous Are Collective Agents? Corporate Rights and Normative Individualism.Frank Hindriks - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S9):1565-1585.
    Corporate responsibility requires a conception of collective agency on which collective agents are able to form moral judgments and act on them. In spite of claims to the contrary, existing accounts of collective agency fall short of this kind of corporate autonomy, as they fail to explain how collective agents might be responsive to moral reasons. I discuss how a recently proposed conception of shared valuing can be used for developing a solution to this problem. Although the resulting conception of (...)
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  • Responsibility Ascriptions in Technology Development and Engineering: Three Perspectives. [REVIEW]Neelke Doorn - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (1):69-90.
    In the last decades increasing attention is paid to the topic of responsibility in technology development and engineering. The discussion of this topic is often guided by questions related to liability and blameworthiness. Recent discussions in engineering ethics call for a reconsideration of the traditional quest for responsibility. Rather than on alleged wrongdoing and blaming, the focus should shift to more socially responsible engineering, some authors argue. The present paper aims at exploring the different approaches to responsibility in order to (...)
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  • Interconnected Blameworthiness.Stephanie Collins & Niels de Haan - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):195-209.
    This paper investigates agents’ blameworthiness when they are part of a group that does harm. We analyse three factors that affect the scope of an agent’s blameworthiness in these cases: shared intentionality, interpersonal influence, and common knowledge. Each factor involves circumstantial luck. The more each factor is present, the greater is the scope of each agent’s vicarious blameworthiness for the other agents’ contributions to the harm. We then consider an agent’s degree of blameworthiness, as distinct from her scope of blameworthiness. (...)
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  • Faces of Vicarious Responsibility.Rowan Mellor - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):238-250.
    This paper investigates whether responsibility could be borne vicariously. I distinguish between three different senses of responsibility: attributional responsibility, practices of holding people responsible, and substantive responsibility. I argue that it is doubtful both whether attributional responsibility could be borne vicariously, and whether it could be appropriate to hold someone vicariously responsible. However, I suggest that substantive responsibility can genuinely be borne vicariously. Getting clear on these conceptual issues has important implications for how we approach more concrete legal and political (...)
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  • Vicarious Responsibility and the Problem of ‘Too Much’: Moral Luck From the Perspective of Ordinary Ethics.Teresa Kuan - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):168-181.
    : This paper explores vicarious responsibility and circumstantial luck from a first-person perspective, drawing on ethnographic research on parenting in Reform Era China. The paper focuses on how informants drew boundaries between what they could and could not control in raising a child who might thrive in a hypercompetitive society. In doing so, the paper engages the question, “What kind of moral agent do we want?” by proposing that we also ask, “What kind of moral agent do we find?” In (...)
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  • The Collective Fallacy: The Possibility of Irreducibly Collective Action Without Corresponding Collective Moral Responsibility.Marcus Hedahl - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (3):283-300.
    The common assumption is that if a group comprising moral agents can act intentionally, as a group, then the group itself can also be properly regarded as a moral agent with respect to that action. I argue, however, that this common assumption is the result of a problematic line of reasoning I refer to as “the collective fallacy.” Recognizing the collective fallacy as a fallacy allows us to see that if there are, in fact, irreducibly joint actors, then some of (...)
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  • The Collective Fallacy: The Possibility of Irreducibly Collective Action Without Corresponding Collective Moral Responsibility.Marcus Hedahl - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (3):283-300.
    The common assumption is that if a group comprising moral agents can act intentionally, as a group, then the group itself can also be properly regarded as a moral agent with respect to that action. I argue, however, that this common assumption is the result of a problematic line of reasoning I refer to as “the collective fallacy.” Recognizing the collective fallacy as a fallacy allows us to see that if there are, in fact, irreducibly joint actors, then some of (...)
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  • May I Treat A Collective As A Mere Means.Bill Wringe - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3):273-284.
    According to Kant, it is impermissible to treat humanity as a mere means. If we accept Kant's equation of humanity with rational agency, and are literalists about ascriptions of agency to collectives it appears to follow that we may not treat collectives as mere means. On most standard accounts of what it is to treat something as a means this conclusion seems highly implausible. I conclude that we are faced with a range of options. One would be to rethink the (...)
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  • Delivering the Deadly Blow: Understanding Collective Responsibility.Joseph Tarquin Foulkes Roberts - 2014 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 5 (1):49-58.
    This paper deals with ascriptions of collective responsibility and the distribution of the responsibility from the group to the individuals. Specifically, this article proposes a solution to cases of collective responsibility which is also sensitive to the demands of normative individualism. The article contends that Judith Jarvis Thomson’s concept of a Minimally Decent Samaritan is a valuable tool for the correct ascription of responsibility to individuals from collectives as it is neither excessively demanding, like Arendt’s and Jaspers’ accounts, or not (...)
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  • Collective Responsibility and Moral Vegetarianism.Hud Hudson - 1993 - Journal of Social Philosophy 24 (2):89-104.
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  • Metaphysics of Group Moral Responsibility.Bhaskarjit Neog - 2020 - Journal of Human Values 26 (3):238-247.
    The concept of group moral responsibility is apparently problematic, in that it is unobvious in what sense a group, which is evidently not a conscious rational subject like an individual person, can be held morally accountable. It is unclear how a group can be said to have the ability to form beliefs and intentions needed for genuine group actions of moral assessment. Broadly speaking, there are two separate platforms from which one can investigate this problem: individualism and collectivism. Subscribing to (...)
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  • Sharing the Costs of Political Injustices.Avia Pasternak - 2011 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (2):188-210.
    It is commonly thought that when democratic states act wrongly, they should bear the costs of the harm they cause. However, since states are collective agents, their financial burdens pass on to their individual citizens. This fact raises important questions about the proper distribution of the state’s collective responsibility for its unjust policies. This article identifies two opposing models for sharing this collective responsibility in democracies: first, in proportion to citizens’ personal association with the unjust policy; second, by giving each (...)
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  • Co-Responsibility for Individualists.David Atenasio - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (4):511-530.
    Some argue that if an agent intentionally participates in collective wrongdoing, that agent bears responsibility for contributing actions performed by other members of the agent’s collective. Some of these intention-state theorists distribute co-responsibility to group members by appeal to participatory intentions alone, while others require participants to instantiate additional beliefs or perform additional actions. I argue that prominent intention-state theories of co-responsibility fail to provide a compelling rationale for why participation in collective wrongdoing merits responsibility not only for one’s own (...)
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  • The Concept of Radical Responsibility for Non-Human Animals.Dominika Dzwonkowska - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • Who's to Blame? Collective Moral Responsibility and its Implications for Group Members.Margaret Gilbert - 2006 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):94–114.
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  • Collective Responsibility, Corporate Responsibility and Moral Taint.David Silver - 2006 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):269–278.
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  • Imposing and Embracing Collective Responsibility: Why the Moral Difference?Keith Graham - 2006 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):256–268.
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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Corporate Personhood and Corporate Political Spending: Implications for Shareholders.Patricia L. Nemetz - 2016 - Business and Society Review 121 (4):569-591.
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  • Can MNCs Be Held Morally Responsible for the Unintended Consequences of Their Operations?Willem Fourie - 2013 - African Journal of Business Ethics 7 (1):26.
    There seems to be popular consensus that multinational corporations (MNCs) should take responsibility for both the intended and unintended consequences of their operations. However, within the discipline of ethics, reflection on the responsibilities of MNCs continues to be highly controversial. In this article, we reflect on one of the more contentious issues in this debate, namely, the moral responsibility of MNCs for the unintended consequences of their operations. It is argued that at least two questions need to be addressed, namely, (...)
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  • Collective Responsibility for Oppression.Titus Stahl - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (3):473-501.
    Many contemporary forms of oppression are not primarily the result of formally organized collective action nor are they an unintended outcome of a combination of individual actions. This raises the question of collective responsibility. I argue that we can only determine who is responsible for oppression if we understand oppression as a matter of social practices that create obstacles for social change. This social practice view of oppression enables two insights: First, that there is an unproblematic sense in which groups (...)
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  • The Problem of Coercion in State Apologies.Jackson Kushner - unknown
    I argue that state apologies face a distinctive normative challenge. The reason for this is that when states apologize for their transgressions, they tend to implicate their citizens as morally responsible. However, because citizens are coerced into supporting state activities through taxation, I argue that their responsibility is mitigated. Citizens do not support state transgressions in the same way that private investors support corporate transgressions. Consequently, state apologies have a distinctive difficulty performing one of the core normative functions of apologies (...)
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  • An Anatomy of Moral Responsibility.M. Braham & M. van Hees - 2012 - Mind 121 (483):601-634.
    This paper examines the structure of moral responsibility for outcomes. A central feature of the analysis is a condition that we term the ‘avoidance potential’, which gives precision to the idea that moral responsibility implies a reasonable demand that an agent should have acted otherwise. We show how our theory can allocate moral responsibility to individuals in complex collective action problems, an issue that sometimes goes by the name of ‘the problem of many hands’. We also show how it allocates (...)
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  • Complicitous Liability in War.Saba Bazargan - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):177-195.
    Jeff McMahan has argued against the moral equivalence of combatants (MEC) by developing a liability-based account of killing in warfare. On this account, a combatant is morally liable to be killed only if doing so is an effective means of reducing or eliminating an unjust threat to which that combatant is contributing. Since combatants fighting for a just cause generally do not contribute to unjust threats, they are not morally liable to be killed; thus MEC is mistaken. The problem, however, (...)
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  • Collective Obligations: Their Existence, Their Explanatory Power, and Their Supervenience on the Obligations of Individuals.Bill Wringe - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):472-497.
    In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective obligations are not simply reducible (...)
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  • Collective Responsibility and Contributing to an Outcome.Gregory Mellema - 2006 - Criminal Justice Ethics 25 (2):17-22.
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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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  • 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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  • Military Ethics and Moral Blame Across Agency Lines.Chad W. Seagren - 2015 - Journal of Military Ethics 14 (2):177-193.
    ABSTRACTIn this article, I examine the extent to which military officers are morally responsible for the actions of others by virtue of shared membership in various groups. I argue that career military officers share membership in morally relevant groups that include their branch of service, Department of Defense and the entire Executive Branch of Government, and I outline the circumstances under which career officers bear moral culpability for the actions of members of this group. A number of implications arise from (...)
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