'Ought Implies Can' and the Possibility of Group Obligations

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Abstract
Positing group level obligations has come under attack from concerns relating to agency as a necessary requirement for obligation bearing. Roughly stated, the worry is that since only agents can have moral obligations, and groups are not agents, groups cannot have moral obligations. The intuition behind this constraint is itself based on the ability requirement of 'ought implies can': in order for a group to have an obligation it must have the ability to perform an action, but only agents can have abilities. This paper argues that from accounts of shared agency we can develop a concept of joint ability, undermining the problem of agency for group obligations.
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Archival date: 2020-12-11
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2020-12-11

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