Moral obligations of states

In Applied Ethics Series. Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University. pp. 86-93 (2011)
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The starting point of the paper is the frequent ascription of moral duties to states, especially in the context of problems of global justice. It is widely assumed that industrialized or wealthy countries in particular have a moral obligation or duties of justice to shoulder burdens of poverty reduction or climate change adaptation and mitigation. But can collectives such as states actually hold moral duties? If answering this affirmatively: what does it actually mean to say that a state has moral obligations or duties of justice? In this paper I argue that states can be considered collective agents which can hold moral duties. If a collective holds moral duties this entails duties for its individual members. I show how depending on their position within the collective these duties differ
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