Why Making No Difference Makes No Moral Difference

In Karl Maker, Annette Schmitt & Jürgen Sirsch (eds.), Demokratie und Entscheidung. Beiträge zur Analytischen Politischen Theorie. Wiesbaden: Springer. pp. 231-244 (2019)
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Ascribing moral responsibility in collective action cases is notoriously difficult. After all, if my individual actions make no difference with regard to the prevention of climate change, the alleviation of poverty, or the outcome of national elections, why ought I to stop driving, donate money, or cast my vote? Neither consequentialist nor non-consequentialist moral theories have straightforward responses ready at hand. In this contribution, I present a new suggestion which, based on thoughts about causal overdetermination along the lines of Mackie’s INUS account, aims to show that causally overdetermined collective action cases are morally arbitrary in a way that makes it possible to ascribe moral responsibility even if individual actions make no difference.
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