Collective Inaction and Collective Epistemic Agency

In Deborah Tollefsen & Saba Bazargan Forward (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Responsibility. New York, NY, USA: pp. 202-215 (2020)
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In this chapter I offer a critique of the received way of thinking about responsibility for collective inaction and propose an alternative approach that takes as its point of departure the epistemic agency exhibited by people navigating impossible situations together. One such situation is becoming increasingly common in the context of climate change: so-called “natural” disasters wreaking havoc on communities—flooding homes, collapsing infrastructures, and straining the capacities of existing organizations to safeguard lives and livelihoods. What happens when philosophical reflection begins here—in places where the institutions and practices that have emerged over the last century seem incapable of addressing the problems communities face now, and where people find themselves turning to one another for the sake of their own survival?
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