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  1. Collective Obligations: Their Existence, Their Explanatory Power, and Their Supervenience on the Obligations of Individuals.Bill Wringe - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):472-497.
    In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective obligations are not simply reducible (...)
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  • Reasons and Impossibility.Bart Streumer - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):351-384.
    Many philosophers claim that it cannot be the case that a person ought to perform an action if this person cannot perform this action. However, most of these philosophers do not give arguments for the truth of this claim. In this paper, I argue that it is plausible to interpret this claim in such a way that it is entailed by the claim that there cannot be a reason for a person to perform an action if it is impossible that (...)
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  • Does 'Ought' Conversationally Implicate 'Can'?Bart Streumer - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):219–228.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues that 'ought' does not entail 'can', but instead conversationally implicates it. I argue that Sinnott-Armstrong is actually committed to a hybrid view about the relation between 'ought' and 'can'. I then give a tensed formulation of the view that 'ought' entails 'can' that deals with Sinnott-Armstrong's argument and that is more unified than Sinnott-Armstrong's view.
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  • Global Obligations and the Agency Objection.Bill Wringe - 2010 - Ratio 23 (2):217-231.
    Many authors hold that collectives, as well as individuals can be the subjects of obligations. Typically these authors have focussed on the obligations of highly structured groups, and of small, informal groups. One might wonder, however, whether there could also be collective obligations which fall on everyone – what I shall call ' global collective obligations '. One reason for thinking that this is not possible has to do with considerations about agency : it seems as though an entity can (...)
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  • Enforcing the Global Economic Order, Violating the Rights of the Poor, and Breaching Negative Duties? Pogge, Collective Agency, and Global Poverty.Bill Wringe - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (2):334-370.
    Thomas Pogge has argued, famously, that ‘we’ are violating the rights of the global poor insofar as we uphold an unjust international order which provides a legal and economic framework within which individuals and groups can and do deprive such individuals of their lives, liberty and property. I argue here that Pogge’s claim that we are violating a negative duty can only be made good on the basis of a substantive theory of collective action; and that it can only provide (...)
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  • Joint Duties and Global Moral Obligations.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2013 - Ratio 26 (3):310-328.
    In recent decades, concepts of group agency and the morality of groups have increasingly been discussed by philosophers. Notions of collective or joint duties have been invoked especially in the debates on global justice, world poverty and climate change. This paper enquires into the possibility and potential nature of moral duties individuals in unstructured groups may hold together. It distinguishes between group agents and groups of people which – while not constituting a collective agent – are nonetheless capable of performing (...)
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  • Collective Responsibility and Collective Obligation.Tracy Isaacs - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):40-57.
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  • What We Together Can (Be Required to) Do.Felix Pinkert - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):187-202.
    In moral and political philosophy, collective obligations are promising “gap-stoppers” when we find that we need to assert some obligation, but can not plausibly ascribe this obligation to individual agents. Most notably, Bill Wringe and Jesse Tomalty discuss whether the obligations that correspond to socio-economic human rights are held by states or even by humankind at large. The present paper aims to provide a missing piece for these discussions, namely an account of the conditions under which obligations can apply to (...)
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  • From Global Collective Obligations to Institutional Obligations.Bill Wringe - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):171-186.
    According to Wringe 2006 we have good reasons for accepting the existence of Global Collective Obligations - in other words, collective obligations which fall on the world’s population as a whole. One such reason is that the existence of such obligations provides a plausible solution a problem which is sometimes thought to arise if we think that individuals have a right to have their basic needs satisfied. However, obligations of this sort would be of little interest – either theoretical or (...)
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  • Joint Moral Duties.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):58-74.
    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 (...)
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  • Responsibility Incorporated.Philip Pettit - 2007 - Ethics 117 (2):171-201.
    The Herald of Free Enterprise, a ferry operating in the English Channel, sank on March 6, 1987, drowning nearly two hundred people. The official inquiry found that the company running the ferry was extremely sloppy, with poor routines of checking and management. “From top to bottom the body corporate was infected with the disease of sloppiness.”1 But the courts did not penalize anyone in what might seem to be an appropriate measure, failing to identify individuals in the company or on (...)
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  • What 'We'?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):225-250.
    The objective of this paper is to explain why certain authors - both popular and academic - are making a mistake when they attribute obligations to uncoordinated groups of persons, and to argue that it is particularly unhelpful to make this mistake given the prevalence of individuals faced with the difficult question of what morality requires of them in a situation in which there's a good they can bring about together with others, but not alone. I'll defend two alternatives to (...)
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  • The Feasibility of Collectives' Actions.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):453-467.
    Does ?ought? imply ?can? for collectives' obligations? In this paper I want to establish two things. The first, what a collective obligation means for members of the collective. The second, how collective ability can be ascertained. I argue that there are four general kinds of obligation, which devolve from collectives to members in different ways, and I give an account of the distribution of obligation from collectives to members for each of these kinds. One implication of understanding collective obligation and (...)
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  • The Corporation as a Moral Person.Peter A. French - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (3):207 - 215.
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  • "Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
    The familiar complaint that some ambitious proposal is infeasible naturally invites the following response: Once upon a time, the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women seemed infeasible, yet these things were actually achieved. Presumably, then, many of those things that seem infeasible in our own time may well be achieved too and, thus, turn out to have been perfectly feasible after all. The Appeal to History, as we call it, is a bad argument. It is not true that (...)
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  • 'Ought' and Ability.P. A. Graham & Peter Graham - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (3):337-382.
    A principle that many have found attractive is one that goes by the name “'Ought' Implies 'Can'.” According to this principle, one morally ought to do something only if one can do it. This essay has two goals: to show that the principle is false and to undermine the motivations that have been offered for it. Toward the end, a proposal about moral obligation according to which something like a restricted version of 'Ought' Implies 'Can' is true is floated. Though (...)
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  • `Ought' Conversationally Implies `Can'.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (2):249-261.
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  • Distributing Collective Obligation.Sean Aas - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (3):1-23.
    In this paper I develop an account of member obligation: the obligations that fall on the members of an obligated collective in virtue of that collective obligation. I use this account to argue that unorganized collections of individuals can constitute obligated agents. I argue first that, to know when a collective obligation entails obligations on that collective’s members, we have to know not just what it would take for each member to do their part in satisfying the collective obligation, but (...)
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  • On Social Facts.Michael Root - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (3):675.
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  • Social Samaritan Justice: When and Why Needy Fellow Citizens Have a Right to Assistance.Laura Valentini - 2015 - American Political Science Review 109 (4):735-749.
    In late 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the U.S., causing much suffering and devastation. Those who could have easily helped Sandy’s victims had a duty to do so. But was this a rightfully enforceable duty of justice, or a non-enforceable duty of beneficence? The answer to this question is often thought to depend on the kind of help offered: the provision of immediate bodily services is not enforceable; the transfer of material resources is. I argue that this (...)
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  • ‘Ought’ Does Not Imply ‘Can’.Moti Mizrahi - 2009 - Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):19-35.
    According to the Ought-Implies-Can principle (OIC), an agent ought to perform a certain action only if the agent can perform that action. Proponents of OIC interpret this supposed implication in several ways. Some argue that the implication in question is a logical one, namely, entailment. Some think that the relation between ‘ought’ and ‘can’ is a relation of presupposition. Still others argue that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. Opponents of OIC offer a variety of counterexamples in an attempt to show that (...)
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  • ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, and Practical Reasons.Clayton Littlejohn - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):363-73.
    Some recent defenses of the 'ought' implies 'can' (OIC) principle try to derive that principle from uncontroversial claims about reasons for action. Reasons for action, it's said, are reasons only for 'potential' actions, which are actions that an agent can perform. Given that 'ought' implies 'reasons', it seems we have our proof of OIC. In this paper, I argue that this latest strategy for defending OIC fails.
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  • Collectives' Duties and Collectivisation Duties.Stephanie Collins - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):231-248.
    Plausibly, only moral agents can bear action-demanding duties. This places constraints on which groups can bear action-demanding duties: only groups with sufficient structure—call them ‘collectives’—have the necessary agency. Moreover, if duties imply ability then moral agents (of both the individual and collectives varieties) can bear duties only over actions they are able to perform. It is thus doubtful that individual agents can bear duties to perform actions that only a collective could perform. This appears to leave us at a loss (...)
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  • Does 'Ought' Still Imply 'Can'?Clayton Littlejohn - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):821-828.
    According to ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ (OIC), your obligation can never be to do what you cannot do. In a recent attack on OIC, Graham has argued that intuitions about justified intervention can help us determine whether the agent whose actions we use force to prevent would have acted permissibly or not. These intuitions, he suggests, cause trouble for the idea that you can be obligated to refrain from doing what you can refrain from doing. I offer a defense of OIC (...)
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  • I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
    I defend the following version of the ought-implies-can principle: (OIC) by virtue of conceptual necessity, an agent at a given time has an (objective, pro tanto) obligation to do only what the agent at that time has the ability and opportunity to do. In short, obligations correspond to ability plus opportunity. My argument has three premises: (1) obligations correspond to reasons for action; (2) reasons for action correspond to potential actions; (3) potential actions correspond to ability plus opportunity. In the (...)
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  • “Cannot” Implies “Not Ought”.Frances Howard-Snyder - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (2):233-246.
    I argue for a version of "ought" implies "can". In particular, I argue that it is necessarily true that if an agent, S, ultima facie ought to do A at T', then there is a time T* such that S can at T* do A at T'. In support of this principle, I have argued that without it, we cannot explain how it is that, in cases where agents cannot do the best thing, they often ought to do some alternative (...)
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  • Needs, Rights, and Collective Obligations.Bill Wringe - 2005 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 57:187-208.
    In this paper, I argue that a well-known objection to subsistence rights developed by Onora O'Neill - namely, that such rights would generate obligations without an obligation-bearer, can be answered if we take such rights to impose an obligation on the world's population, taken collectively.
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  • The Human Right to Subsistence and the Collective Duty to Aid.Violetta Igneski - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (1):33-50.
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  • Ought Does Not Imply Can.Paul Saka - 2000 - American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (2):93 - 105.
    Moral philosophers widely believe that it is a part of the MEANING of 'ought' statements that they imply 'can' statements. To this thesis I offer three challenges, and then I conclude on a broader methodological note. (1) Epistemological Modal Argument: for all we know, determinism is true; determinism contradicts “ought implies can”; therefore we don’t know that 'ought' implies 'can'. (2) Metaphysical Modal Argument: determinism is conceptually possible; determinism contradicts “ought implies can”; therefore “ought implies can” is not an analytic (...)
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