Collective Responsibility and Acting Together

In Saba Bazargan-Forward & Deborah Tollefsen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Responsibility. Routledge (2020)
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Abstract

What is the moral significance of the contrast between acting together and strategic interaction? We argue that while collective moral responsibility is not uniquely tied to the former, the degree to which the participants in a shared intentional wrongdoing are blameworthy is normally higher than when agents bring about the same wrong as a result of strategic interaction. One argument for this claim focuses on the fact that shared intentions cause intended outcomes in a more robust manner than the intentions involved in strategic interaction. We argue, however, that this in itself is not significant. The significant difference is rather volitional: The parties to a shared intention are mutually implicated in each other’s will in a distinct way. Since degree of blameworthiness depends on the quality of will an agent displays in her actions, this explains the higher degree of collective blameworthiness associated with shared intentional wrongdoing.

Author Profiles

Olle Blomberg
University of Gothenburg
Frank Hindriks
University of Groningen

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