Collective Responsibility and Entitlement to Collective Reasons for Action

In Saba Bazargan-Forward & Deborah Tollefsen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Responsibility. Routledge. pp. 243-257 (2020)
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What are the implications for agency – and in particular, the idea of acting for reasons – if we are to take seriously the notion of collective responsibility? My thesis is that some cases of individuals subject to a collective form of responsibility and blame will force us to make sense of how it is that an individual can be entitled to collective reasons for action, i.e. entitled to a reason had in the first place by a plurality of individuals together rather than any one of them alone. This entitlement makes it possible for the collective reason to be a reason for which one acts, even if one’s contribution on its own makes little or no difference in the collective effort. Although a full defense of this entitlement cannot be undertaken here, I will gesture at how this might work by suggesting that intentions function to preserve reasons for action. .

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Abe (Abraham) Roth
Ohio State University


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