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  1. What is the Point of Helping?James Fanciullo - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1487-1500.
    In some cases, a group of people can bring about a morally bad outcome despite each person’s individual act making no difference with respect to bringing that outcome about. Since each person’s act makes no difference, it seems the effects of the act cannot provide a reason not to perform it. This is problematic, because if each person acts in accordance with their reasons, each will presumably perform the act—and thus, the bad outcome will be brought about. Recently, Julia Nefsky (...)
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  • The Psychological Basis of Collective Action.James Fanciullo - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    Sometimes, a group of people can produce a morally bad outcome despite each person’s individual act making no difference to whether the outcome is produced. Since each person’s act makes no difference, it seems the effects of the act cannot provide a reason not to perform it. This is problematic, because if each person acts in accordance with their reasons, each will presumably perform the act—and thus, the bad outcome will be brought about. I suggest that the key to solving (...)
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  • How You Can Help, Without Making a Difference.Julia Nefsky - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2743-2767.
    There are many cases in which people collectively cause some morally significant outcome (such as a harmful or beneficial outcome) but no individual act seems to make a difference. The problem in such cases is that it seems each person can argue, ‘it makes no difference whether or not I do X, so I have no reason to do it.’ The challenge is to say where this argument goes wrong. My approach begins from the observation that underlying the problem and (...)
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  • Participation and Superfluity.Jan Willem Wieland & Rutger van Oeveren - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (2):163-187.
    Why act when the effects of one’s act are negligible? For example, why boycott sweatshop or animal products if doing so makes no difference for the better? According to recent proposals, one may still have a reason to boycott in order to avoid complicity or participation in harm. Julia Nefsky has argued that accounts of this kind suffer from the so-called “superfluity problem,” basically the question of why agents can be said to participate in harm if they make no difference (...)
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  • To Buy or Not to Buy? The Moral Relevance of the Individual Demand in Everyday Purchase Situations.Rebecca Ullrich & Bernward Gesang - 2020 - Food Ethics 5 (1-2).
    The question of the moral relevance of the individual demand is fundamental to many purchase decisions of daily consumer life. Can a single purchase make a difference for the better or worse? Each individual consumer could argue that companies are unlikely to adjust their production due to one single item more or less being sold. He might therefore decide not to change his consumption behavior but instead to rely on the effort of others, a pattern commonly referred to as collective (...)
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  • Collective Action Problems and Conflicting Obligations.Brian Talbot - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2239-2261.
    Enormous harms, such as climate change, often occur as the result of large numbers of individuals acting separately. In collective action problems, an individual has so little chance of making a difference to these harms that changing their behavior has insignificant expected utility. Even so, it is intuitive that individuals in many collective action problems should not be parts of groups that cause these great harms. This paper gives an account of when we do and do not have obligations to (...)
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  • No Free Lunch: The Significance of Tiny Contributions.Zach Barnett - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):3-13.
    There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style arguments. Such arguments imagine varying (...)
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  • Collective Harm and the Inefficacy Problem.Julia Nefsky - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (4):e12587.
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  • Robust Individual Responsibility for Climate Harms.Gianfranco Pellegrino - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (4):811-823.
    According to some scholars, while sets of greenhouse gases emissions generate harms deriving from climate change, which can be mitigated through collective actions, individual emissions and mitigation activities seem to be causally insufficient to cause harms. If so, single individuals are neither responsible for climate harms, nor they have mitigation duties. If this view were true, there would be collective responsibility for climate harms without individual responsibility and collective mitigation duties without individual duties: this is puzzling. This paper explores a (...)
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