Joint Moral Duties

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):58-74 (2014)
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There are countless circumstances under which random individuals COULD act together to prevent something morally bad from happening or to remedy a morally bad situation. But when OUGHT individuals to act together in order to bring about a morally important outcome? Building on Philip Pettit’s and David Schweikard’s account of joint action, I will put forward the notion of joint duties: duties to perform an action together that individuals in so-called random or unstructured groups can jointly hold. I will show how this account of joint duties is preferable to one which defends individual duties to cooperate. I then discuss the limits of joint duties and the ways in which one can fail to comply with them. It will become apparent that the circumstances under which individuals in random collectives acquire such joint duties are rare.

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Anne Schwenkenbecher
Murdoch University


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