The Feasibility of Collectives' Actions

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):453-467 (2012)
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Abstract

Does ?ought? imply ?can? for collectives' obligations? In this paper I want to establish two things. The first, what a collective obligation means for members of the collective. The second, how collective ability can be ascertained. I argue that there are four general kinds of obligation, which devolve from collectives to members in different ways, and I give an account of the distribution of obligation from collectives to members for each of these kinds. One implication of understanding collective obligation and ability in the proposed way is that a group can be blameworthy for failing to realize its obligation even when no member of the group is blameworthy for failing to realize her obligation

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Holly Lawford-Smith
University of Melbourne

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