Getting Our Act Together: A Theory of Collective Moral Obligations

New York; London: Routledge (2021)
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Together we can often achieve things that are impossible to do on our own. We can prevent something bad from happening or we can produce something good, even if none of us could do it by herself. But when are we morally required to do something of moral importance together with others? This book develops an original theory of collective moral obligations. These are obligations that individual moral agents hold jointly, but not as unified collective agents. To think of some of our obligations as joint or collective is the best way of making sense of our intuitions regarding collective moral action problems. Where we have reason to believe that our efforts are most efficient as part of a collective endeavor we may incur collective obligations together with others who are similarly placed as long as we are able to establish compossible individual contributory strategies towards that goal. The book concludes with a discussion of “massively shared obligations” to large-scale moral problems such as global poverty.
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