How to Punish Collective Agents

Ethics and International Affairs (2011)
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Assuming that states can hold moral duties, it can easily be seen that states—just like any other moral agent—can sometimes fail to discharge those moral duties. In the context of climate change examples of states that do not meet their emission reduction targets abound. If individual moral agents do wrong they usually deserve and are liable to some kind of punishment. But how can states be punished for failing to comply with moral duties without therewith also punishing their citizens who are not necessarily deserving of any punishment?

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Anne Schwenkenbecher
Murdoch University


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