Collective Reasons and Agent-Relativity

Utilitas 34 (1):57-69 (2022)
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Abstract

Could it be true that even though we as a group ought to do something, you as an individual ought not to do your part? And under what conditions, in particular, could this happen? In this article, I discuss how a certain kind of case, introduced by David Copp, illustrates the possibility that you ought not to do your part even when you would be playing a crucial causal role in the group action. This is because you may have special agent-relative reasons against participating that are not shared by the group as a whole. I defend the claim that these are indeed cases in which you ought not to do your part in what the group ought to do. I then argue that we can expect these cases to produce a troubling kind of rational conflict.

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Alexander Dietz
University of Southern California (PhD)

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