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Group Responsibility

In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press (2022)

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  1. Assigning Responsibilities to Institutional Moral Agents: The Case of States and Quasi-States.Toni Erskine - 2001 - Ethics and International Affairs 15 (2):67-85.
    Determining who, or indeed what, is to respond to prescriptions for action in cases of international crisis is a critical endeavor. Without such an allocation of responsibilities, calls to action–whether to protect the environment or to rescue distant strangers–lack specified agents, and, therefore, any meaningful indication of how they might be met. A fundamental step in arriving at this distribution of duties is identifying moral agents in international relations, or, in other words, identifying those bodies that can deliberate and act (...)
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  • Groups as Agents.Deborah Tollefsen - 2015 - Malden, MA: Polity.
    In the social sciences and in everyday speech we often talk about groups as if they behaved in the same way as individuals, thinking and acting as a singular being. We say for example that "Google intends to develop an automated car", "the U.S. Government believes that Syria has used chemical weapons on its people", or that "the NRA wants to protect the rights of gun owners". We also often ascribe legal and moral responsibility to groups. But could groups literally (...)
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  • What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
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  • Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
    This essay challenges the widely accepted principle that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. The author considers situations in which there are sufficient conditions for a certain choice or action to be performed by someone, So that it is impossible for the person to choose or to do otherwise, But in which these conditions do not in any way bring it about that the person chooses or acts as he (...)
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  • Nonreductive physicalism and the limits of the exclusion principle.Christian List & Peter Menzies - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (9):475-502.
    It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higher-level property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as difference-making to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is (...)
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  • The Natural Ontological Attitude.Arthur I. Fine - 1984 - In Jarrett Leplin (ed.), Scientific Realism. University of California. pp. 261--77.
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  • Why Free Will is Real.Christian List - 2019 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
    Philosophers have argued about the nature and the very existence of free will for centuries. Today, many scientists and scientifically minded commentators are skeptical that it exists, especially when it is understood to require the ability to choose between alternative possibilities. If the laws of physics govern everything that happens, they argue, then how can our choices be free? Believers in free will must be misled by habit, sentiment, or religious doctrine. Why Free Will Is Real defies scientific orthodoxy and (...)
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  • The Bounds of Agency: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics.Carol Rovane - 1997 - Princeton University Press.
    The subject of personal identity is one of the most central and most contested and exciting in philosophy. Ever since Locke, psychological and bodily criteria have vied with one another in conflicting accounts of personal identity. Carol Rovane argues that, as things stand, the debate is unresolvable since both sides hold coherent positions that our common sense, she maintains, is conflicted; so any resolution to the debate is bound to be revisionary. She boldly offers such a revisionary theory of personal (...)
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  • Actions, thought-experiments and the 'principle of alternate possibilities'.Maria Alvarez - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):61 – 81.
    In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those debates. Such cases (...)
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  • The philosophy of sociality: The shared point of view * by Raimo Tuomela. [REVIEW]Raimo Tuomela - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):587-589.
    This work provides a rigorous analysis of what Tuomela calls ‘the we-perspective’. Tuomela's overarching project is to argue that ‘conceptualizing social life and theorizing about it requires the use of group concepts, indeed the we-perspective and, especially, the we-mode.’ Already some of the complexities of Tuomela's approach will be evident – viz. in the distinction, implied in the above quotation and carried through systematically throughout the work, between the ‘we-perspective’ and the ‘we-mode’. For, indeed, it is possible, on his account, (...)
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  • Collective intentionality and the social sciences.Deborah Perron Tollefsen - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (1):25-50.
    In everyday discourse and in the context of social scientific research we often attribute intentional states to groups. Contemporary approaches to group intentionality have either dismissed these attributions as metaphorical or provided an analysis of our attributions in terms of the intentional states of individuals in the group.Insection1, the author argues that these approaches are problematic. In sections 2 and 3, the author defends the view that certain groups are literally intentional agents. In section 4, the author argues that there (...)
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  • Can a Corporation be Worthy of Moral Consideration?Kenneth Silver - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 159 (1):253-265.
    Much has been written about what corporations owe society and whether it is appropriate to hold them responsible. In contrast, little has been written about whether anything is owed to corporations apart from what is owed to their members. And when this question has been addressed, the answer has always been that corporations are not worthy of any distinct moral consideration. This is even claimed by proponents of corporate agency. In this paper, I argue that proponents of corporate agency should (...)
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  • If materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721.
    If you’re a materialist, you probably think that rabbits are conscious. And you ought to think that. After all, rabbits are a lot like us, biologically and neurophysiologically. If you’re a materialist, you probably also think that conscious experience would be present in a wide range of naturally-evolved alien beings behaviorally very similar to us even if they are physiologically very different. And you ought to think that. After all, to deny it seems insupportable Earthly chauvinism. But a materialist who (...)
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  • The Presidential Address: Social Objects.Anthony Quinton - 1976 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 76:1 - viii.
    Anthony Quinton; I*—The Presidential Address: Social Objects, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 76, Issue 1, 1 June 1976, Pages 1–28, https://doi.
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  • Ontological relativity.W. V. O. Quine - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (7):185-212.
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  • Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
    This volume consists of the first of the John Dewey Lectures delivered under the auspices of Columbia University's Philosophy Department as well as other essays by the author. Intended to clarify the meaning of the philosophical doctrines propounded by Professor Quine in 'Word and Objects', the essays included herein both support and expand those doctrines.
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  • I*—The Presidential Address: Social Objects.Anthony Quinton - 1976 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 76 (1):1-28.
    Anthony Quinton; I*—The Presidential Address: Social Objects, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 76, Issue 1, 1 June 1976, Pages 1–28, https://doi.
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  • Maximalism and Moral Harmony.Douglas W. Portmore - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):318-341.
    Maximalism is the view that an agent is permitted to perform a certain type of action if and only if she is permitted to perform some instance of this type, where φ-ing is an instance of ψ-ing if and only if φ-ing entails ψ-ing but not vice versa. Now, the aim of this paper is not to defend maximalism, but to defend a certain account of our options that when combined with maximalism results in a theory that accommodates the idea (...)
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  • Group agency and supervenience.Philip Pettit - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (S1):85-105.
    Can groups be rational agents over and above their individual members? We argue that group agents are distinguished by their capacity to mimic the way in which individual agents act and that this capacity must “supervene” on the group members' contributions. But what is the nature of this supervenience relation? Focusing on group judgments, we argue that, for a group to be rational, its judgment on a particular proposition cannot generally be a function of the members' individual judgments on that (...)
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  • Limiting States' Corporate Responsibility.Avia Pasternak - 2012 - Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (4):361-381.
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  • From Corporate Moral Agency to Corporate Moral Rights.Avia Pasternak - 2017 - Law and Ethics of Human Rights 11 (1):135-159.
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  • Responsibility voids.Matthew Braham & Martin VanHees - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):6-15.
    We present evidence for the existence of ‘responsibility voids’ in committee decision-making, that is, the existence of situations where no member of a committee can individually be held morally responsible for the outcome. We analyse three types of reasons (causal, normative and epistemic) for the emergence of responsibility voids, and show that each of them can occur in committees. But the conditions for these voids are so restrictive as to reduce the philosophical or institutional significance they might be thought to (...)
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  • What is it Like to be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  • Group Agency and Artificial Intelligence.Christian List - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology (4):1-30.
    The aim of this exploratory paper is to review an under-appreciated parallel between group agency and artificial intelligence. As both phenomena involve non-human goal-directed agents that can make a difference to the social world, they raise some similar moral and regulatory challenges, which require us to rethink some of our anthropocentric moral assumptions. Are humans always responsible for those entities’ actions, or could the entities bear responsibility themselves? Could the entities engage in normative reasoning? Could they even have rights and (...)
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  • Human rights without human supremacism.Will Kymlicka - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):763-792.
    Early defenders of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights invoked species hierarchy: human beings are owed rights because of our discontinuity with and superiority to animals. Subsequent defenders avoided species supremacism, appealing instead to conditions of embodied subjectivity and corporeal vulnerability we share with animals. In the past decade, however, supremacism has returned in work of the new ‘dignitarians’ who argue that human rights are grounded in dignity, and that human dignity requires according humans a higher status than animals. Against (...)
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  • Can a random collection of individuals be morally responsible?Virginia Held - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (14):471-481.
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  • On Social Facts.Margaret Gilbert - 1989 - Routledge.
    This book offers original accounts of a number of central social phenomena, many of which have received little if any prior philosophical attention. These phenomena include social groups, group languages, acting together, collective belief, mutual recognition, and social convention. In the course of developing her analyses Gilbert discusses the work of Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, David Lewis, among others.
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  • Collective responsibility.Joel Feinberg - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (21):674-688.
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  • Responsibility Voids and Cooperation.Hein Duijf - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (4):434-460.
    Do responsibility voids exist? That is, are there situations in which the group is collectively morally responsible for some outcome although no member can be held individually morally responsible for it? To answer these questions, I draw a distinction between competitive and cooperative decision contexts based on the team-reasoning account of cooperation. Accordingly, I provide a reasoning-based analysis of cooperation, competition, moral responsibility, and, last, potential responsibility voids. I then argue that competitive decision contexts are free of responsibility voids. The (...)
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  • The Intentional Stance.Daniel Clement Dennett - 1981 - MIT Press.
    Through the use of such "folk" concepts as belief, desire, intention, and expectation, Daniel Dennett asserts in this first full scale presentation of...
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  • Filling Collective Duty Gaps.Stephanie Collins - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (11):573-591.
    A collective duty gap arises when a group has caused harm that requires remedying but no member did harm that can justify the imposition of individual remedial duties. Examples range from airplane crashes to climate change. How might collective duty gaps be filled? This paper starts by examining two promising proposals for filling them. Both proposals are found inadequate. Thus, while gap-filling duties can be defended against objections from unfairness and demandingness, we need a substantive justification for their existence. I (...)
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  • Collective Responsibility Gaps.Stephanie Collins - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):943-954.
    Which kinds of responsibility can we attribute to which kinds of collective, and why? In contrast, which kinds of collective responsibility can we not attribute—which kinds are ‘gappy’? This study provides a framework for answering these questions. It begins by distinguishing between three kinds of collective and three kinds of responsibility. It then explains how gaps—i.e. cases where we cannot attribute the responsibility we might want to—appear to arise within each type of collective responsibility. It argues some of these gaps (...)
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  • The Responsibility Gap in Corporate Crime.Samuel W. Buell - 2018 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (3):471-491.
    In many cases of criminality within large corporations, senior management does not commit the operative offense—or conspire or assist in it—but nonetheless bears serious responsibility for the crime. That responsibility can derive from, among other things, management’s role in cultivating corporate culture, in failing to police effectively within the firm, and in accepting lavish compensation for taking the firm’s reins. Criminal law does not include any doctrinal means for transposing that form of responsibility into punishment. Arguments for expanding doctrine—including broadening (...)
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  • An Anatomy of Moral Responsibility.M. Braham & M. van Hees - 2012 - Mind 121 (483):601-634.
    This paper examines the structure of moral responsibility for outcomes. A central feature of the analysis is a condition that we term the ‘avoidance potential’, which gives precision to the idea that moral responsibility implies a reasonable demand that an agent should have acted otherwise. We show how our theory can allocate moral responsibility to individuals in complex collective action problems, an issue that sometimes goes by the name of ‘the problem of many hands’. We also show how it allocates (...)
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  • Corporate Crocodile Tears? On the Reactive Attitudes of Corporate Agents.Gunnar Björnsson & Kendy Hess - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):273–298.
    Recently, a number of people have argued that certain entities embodied by groups of agents themselves qualify as agents, with their own beliefs, desires, and intentions; even, some claim, as moral agents. However, others have independently argued that fully-fledged moral agency involves a capacity for reactive attitudes such as guilt and indignation, and these capacities might seem beyond the ken of “collective” or “ corporate ” agents. Individuals embodying such agents can of course be ashamed, proud, or indignant about what (...)
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  • Theory of International Politics.Kenneth Neal Waltz - 1979 - Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.
    Forfatterens mål med denne bog er: 1) Analyse af de gældende teorier for international politik og hvad der heri er lagt størst vægt på. 2) Konstruktion af en teori for international politik som kan kan råde bod på de mangler, der er i de nu gældende. 3) Afprøvning af den rekonstruerede teori på faktiske hændelsesforløb.
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  • Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together.Michael Bratman - 2014 - New York, NY: Oup Usa.
    Human beings act together in characteristic ways that matter to us a great deal. This book explores the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of such sociality. It argues that appeal to the planning structures involved in our individual, temporally extended agency provides substantial resources for understanding these foundations of our sociality.
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  • Social Ontology: Collective Intentionality and Group Agents.Raimo Tuomela - 2013 - New York, US: Oup Usa.
    This volume presents a systematic philosophical theory related to the collectivism-versus-individualism debate in the social sciences. A weak version of collectivism (the "we-mode" approach) that depends on group-based collective intentionality is developed in the book. The we-mode approach is used to account for collective intention and action, cooperation, group attitudes, social practices and institutions as well as group solidarity.
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  • Group agency: the possibility, design, and status of corporate agents.Christian List & Philip Pettit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Philip Pettit.
    Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individuals that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agents. Group Agency offers a new approach to that question and is relevant, therefore, to a range of fields from philosophy to law, politics, and the social sciences. (...)
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  • The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (2nd edition).David J. Chalmers - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
    The book is an extended study of the problem of consciousness. After setting up the problem, I argue that reductive explanation of consciousness is impossible , and that if one takes consciousness seriously, one has to go beyond a strict materialist framework. In the second half of the book, I move toward a positive theory of consciousness with fundamental laws linking the physical and the experiential in a systematic way. Finally, I use the ideas and arguments developed earlier to defend (...)
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  • Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency.Michael Bratman - 1999 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    This collection of essays by one of the most prominent and internationally respected philosophers of action theory is concerned with deepening our understanding of the notion of intention. In Bratman's view, when we settle on a plan for action we are committing ourselves to future conduct in ways that help support important forms of coordination and organization both within the life of the agent and interpersonally. These essays enrich that account of commitment involved in intending, and explore its implications for (...)
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  • On Social Facts.Margaret Gilbert - 1989 - Ethics 102 (4):853-856.
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  • The Grounds of Moral Status.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:0-0.
    This article discusses what is involved in having full moral status, as opposed to a lesser degree of moral status and surveys different views of the grounds of moral status as well as the arguments for attributing a particular degree of moral status on the basis of those grounds.
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  • Collective responsibility.Marion Smiley - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This essay discusses the nature of collective responsibility and explores various controversies associated with its possibility and normative value.
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  • Methodological individualism.Joseph Heath - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    (1968 [1922]). It amounts to the claim that social phenomena must be explained by showing how they result from individual actions, which in turn must be explained through reference to the intentional states that motivate the individual actors. It involves, in other words, a commitment to the primacy of what Talcott Parsons would later call “the action frame of reference” (Parsons 1937: 43-51) in social-scientific explanation. It is also sometimes described as the claim that explanations of “macro” social phenomena must (...)
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  • Groups with minds of their own.Philip Pettit - 2003 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press.
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  • Causes and Conditions.J. L. Mackie - 1965 - American Philosophical Quarterly 2 (4):245 - 264.
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  • Agency as difference-making: causal foundations of moral responsibility.Johannes Himmelreich - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science
    We are responsible for some things but not for others. In this thesis, I investigate what it takes for an entity to be responsible for something. This question has two components: agents and actions. I argue for a permissive view about agents. Entities such as groups or artificially intelligent systems may be agents in the sense required for responsibility. With respect to actions, I argue for a causal view. The relation in virtue of which agents are responsible for actions is (...)
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  • Troubles with Functionalism.Ned Block - 1978 - In Alvin Goldman (ed.), Readings in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 231.
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  • Troubles with functionalism.Ned Block - 1978 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9:261-325.
    The functionalist view of the nature of the mind is now widely accepted. Like behaviorism and physicalism, functionalism seeks to answer the question "What are mental states?" I shall be concerned with identity thesis formulations of functionalism. They say, for example, that pain is a functional state, just as identity thesis formulations of physicalism say that pain is a physical state.
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