Global obligations, collective capacities, and ‘ought implies can’

Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1523-1538 (2020)
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Abstract
It is sometimes argued that non-agent collectives, including what one might call the ‘global collective’ consisting of the world’s population taken as a whole, cannot be the bearers of non-distributive moral obligations on pain of violating the principle that ‘ought implies can’. I argue that one prominent line of argument for this conclusion fails because it illicitly relies on a formulation of the ‘ought implies can’ principle which is inapt for contexts which allow for the possibility of non-distributive plural predications of agency, which are precisely the contexts in which we might expect non-agents to be obligation-bearers.
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Archival date: 2019-02-12
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