This paper defends the claim that collectiveresponsibility can be based on group membership. It argues that collectiveresponsibility is best understood in terms of duties to respond to the victims of collective crimes. Reasonable fear on the part of the victimized groups creates duties to respond for members of the perpetrating group. This account does a better job of capturing our intuitions about actual cases and the phenomenology of collectiveresponsibility than other (...) accounts currently on offer. It also offers us a justification of collectiveresponsibility judgments that is compatible with the separateness of persons. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper an argument is developed to the effect that (1) there is no moral ground for individual persons to feel responsible for or guilty about crimes of their group to which they have in no way contributed; and (2) since there is no irreducibly collectiveresponsibility nor guilt at any time, there is no question of them persisting over time. In the second part it is argued that there is nevertheless sufficient reason (...) for innocent individual members of a group (that persists over time) to take on responsibility and guilt for the evil other (earlier) members have committed. The reason depends on the acceptability of a particular psychological theory of personal identity. (shrink)
This article argues against Anna Stilz's recent attempt to solve the problem of citizens' collectiveresponsibility in democratic states. I show that her solution could only apply to state actions that are (in legal terminology) unjustified but excusable. Stilz's marquee case – the 2003 invasion of Iraq – does not, I will argue, fit this bill; nor, in all likelihood, does any other case in recorded history. Thus, this article concludes, we may allow that Stilz's argument offers a (...) theoretically cogent case for citizens' task-responsibility in democratic states (given the right conditions); it just so happens that few if any cases satisfy these conditions. (shrink)
This essay argues that while the notion of collective responsibiility is incoherent if it is taken to be an application of the Kantian model of moral responsibility to groups, it is coherent -- and important -- if formulated in terms of the moral reactions that we can have to groups that cause harm in the world. I formulate collectiveresponsibility as such and in doing so refocus attention from intentionality to the production of harm.
The basic bearer of responsibility is individuals, because that isall there are – nothing else can literally be the bearer of fullresponsibility. Claims about group responsibility therefore needanalysis. This would be impossible if all actions must be understoodas ones that could be performed whether or not anyone else exists.Individuals often act by virtue of membership in certain groups;often such membership bears a causal role in our behavior, andsometimes people act deliberately in order to promote the prospectsof members of (...) a given group. Nevertheless, it is rational to awardproportionally to individual contributions to those actions andindividual shares in the production of the consequences of thoseactions. (shrink)
Individualists hold that moral responsibility can be ascribed to single human beings only. An important collectivist objection is that individualism is morally deficient because it leaves a normative residue. Without attributing responsibility to collectives there remains a “deficit in the accounting books” (Pettit). This collectivist strategy often uses judgment aggregation paradoxes to show that the collective can be responsible when no individual is. I argue that we do not need collectivism to handle such cases because the individualist (...) analysis leaves no responsibility-deficit. Harm suffered in such situations can have only two sources. Harm is either due to culpable wrongdoing by individuals. Harm is then redressed by holding these individuals responsible. Or harm does not result from culpable wrongdoing. Such harm may have to be redressed too, but not because anyone is responsible for it. Therefore, the charge of moral insensitivity against individualist accounts can be rejected. Furthermore, in the last section of the chapter I will show that collectivist talk about moral responsibility can be used for ethically questionable purposes as well. Collectivists cannot claim the moral high ground. (shrink)
This is a review essay of Christopher Kutz's Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age, and Jonathan Bass's Stay The Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. Topics addressed include the nature of collective intentions and actions, the possibility of collective guilt, the moral responsibility of individuals in the context of collective actions.
The debate surrounding the issue of collective moral responsibility is often steeped in metaphysical issues of agency and personhood. I suggest that we can approach the metaphysical problems surrounding the issue of collectiveresponsibility in a roundabout manner. My approach is reminiscent of that taken by P.F. Strawson in "Freedom and Resentment" (1968). Strawson argues that the participant reactive attitudes - attitudes like resentment, gratitude, forgiveness and so on - provide the justification for holding individuals morally (...) responsible. I argue that the framework of the reactive attitudes extends to collectives and provides the justification for holding collectives morally responsible. (shrink)
Ruth Marcus has offered an account of moral dilemmas in which the presence of dilemmas acts as a motivating force, pushing us to try to minimize predicaments of moral conflict. In this paper, I defend a Marcus-style account of dilemmas against two objections: first, that if dilemmas are real, we are forced to blame those who have done their best, and second, that in some cases, even a stripped down version of blame seems inappropriate. My account highlights the importance of (...)collectiveresponsibility in understanding dilemmas, and I suggest that it sheds light on understanding moral progress. (shrink)
In his recent book, National responsibility and global justice, David Miller conceptualizes and justifies a model of national responsibility. His conceptualization proceeds in two steps: he starts by developing two models of collectiveresponsibility, the like?minded group model and the cooperative practice model. He then proceeds to discuss national responsibility, a species of collectiveresponsibility, and argues that nations have features such that the two models of collectiveresponsibility also apply to (...) them. In this article I focus on the question whether Miller?s like?minded group model and the cooperative practice model are plausible and convincing models of collectiveresponsibility. I will argue that the like?minded model does not provide a plausible conceptualization of collectiveresponsibility, while the collective practice model provides a good model for collectiveresponsibility but is not particularly helpful in conceptualizing national responsibility. (shrink)
Flores and Johnson (Ethics 93 No. 3 (1983) pp. 537, 545.) offer a solution to the problem of individual and collectiveresponsibility which obscures the fundamental requirement for responsibility ascriptions, namely, moral agency. Close attention to matters of individual and collective agency provides a simple yet defensible criterion for establishing when an individual is and isn't responsible for the untoward consequences of a collective act.
Terrorism is commonly viewed as a form of war, and as a form of war, the morality of terrorism seems to turn on the usual arguments regarding the furtherance of political objectives through coercive means. The terrorist argues that his options for armed struggle are limited, and that the use of force against civilians is the only way he can advance his cause. But this argument is subject to a powerful response. There is the argument from consequences, which asserts that (...) terrorism is almost always counterproductive, even assuming the terrorist’s political objectives are legitimate. There is the argument from rights, which claims that terrorism violates the basic human rights of (at least) its civilian victims, and is therefore morally objectionable regardless of its consequences. And there is the argument from virtue, which notes that slaughtering civilians requires no skill or courage and therefore generates no honor or glory, making the terrorist not a virtuous warrior but a vicious one. But terrorism is not only a means of political coercion. It is also, in the view of many terrorists, a means of retribution. It is a means of exacting punishment on a political community the terrorist believes is collectively responsible for grievous wrongs certain members of that community have committed. And viewed as a means of retribution, the usual arguments made against terrorism-as-coercion have no moral force. To explain why terrorism-as-retribution is morally wrong, we must attack the notion of collectiveresponsibility on which the terrorist relies. (shrink)
The article presents critical examination of theories about collectiveresponsibility attempting to cover responsibility for historic injustices. The author will also try to establish the possibility of collectiveresponsibility for the present members of the group to make recompense for the injustices committed by their ancestors depending on two factors expounded in the article.
The article presents the nature of shared intentions and collectiveresponsibility in simultaneous discussion of individualism, which views that collective agents and shared intentions are to be analyzed in relation between individual agents who are members of the collectives. It discusses as well the agent meaning theory that states that an agent moves against the interpretive background of action evaluation shared by the agent and the moral community.
Among the collective as well as individual responsibilities of nurses as professionals is that of maintaining and improving the quality of nursing care. In exchange for monopoly status and professional authority to control nursing practice, the profession is charged with the responsibility of meeting the nursing care needs of the community. If one claims, as I do, that one of the collective responsibilities of nurses is maintenance of high nursing standards, we must examine what action is required (...) of nurses who find themselves in work contexts in which standards and practice are deficient. Specifically, is the strike weapon one that may or even ought to be used? In this essay, answers to the following two questions are advanced: (a) What conditions must obtain for it to be (morally) right for nurses in a particular health care facility to strike? (b) Does their collectiveresponsibility with regard to nursing standards and practice ever entail that a group of nurses has a (moral) duty to strike? The essay concludes with a consideration of how one balances the collectiveresponsibility to maintain and improve the quality of nursing care with an individual nurse's responsibility to her/his own patients. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
There is a widespread assumption that responsibility in health care is vested in the last resort in the individual doctor who is caring for a given patient. In the first section of this article I shall try to bring out the plausibility of this assumption, and examine the concept of collectiveresponsibility which it allows. In the second and third sections I shall try to show the fatal weaknesses of the assumption in its unmodified form, and shall (...) argue that if we are to understand the nature of health care at the present time we must take the norm to be collective and not individual responsibility. I shall discuss the two relevant senses of collectiveresponsibility and try to show how they can be reconciled with what is acceptable in the widespread assumption of individual responsibility. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The article presents the issues arising from the memberships of moral agents in collectives that have the burden of moral responsibility. Likewise, it examines the qualifying actions that qualify their membership including deliberate contribution, risk taking and others. It differentiates collectiveresponsibility to shared responsibility.
In part one I review the literature, exposing some of the ambiguities, contradictions, and antinomies involved in the notion of communication. The literature presents us with two rather contradictory notions of communication: one rhetorical, the other responsible. Disparity between the two may be seen to jeopardize a new moral mandate to corporate business. In part two I develop more explicitly the models of rhetorical and responsible communication, locating the issue at the center of a solution to the problem of (...) class='Hi'>collectiveresponsibility. A proper exercise of corporate moral responsibility, I argue, is compatible only with a model of responsible communication. I conclude by challenging top management to strive toward a goal of responsible communication at all levels in their respective corporate institutions. (shrink)
Traditional medical ethics, developed to apply to the contingencies of individual fee-for-service medical practice, do not always seem to speak to the problems of the new forms and locations of health care: the medical team, the hospital, the organized health-care profession, and the society as a whole as guarantor of all health care and education. It is the purpose of this issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy to articulate guidelines for describing and attributing responsibility for health care (...) in these collective providers. This introduction attempts to provide the conceptual apparatus for a discussion of collectiveresponsibility in health care, by the elucidation of the multiple meanings of "responsibility" and the articulation of three standard models for collectiveresponsibility. In the light of these models, the question is put: can the health-care professions and their various subunits and institutions accept and exercise moral responsibility for health care? Its importance is stressed, and its answer left to the contributors. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Sartre's play Les Mouches ( The Flies ), first performed in 1943 under German occupation, has long been controversial. While intended to encourage resistance against the Nazis, its approval by the censor indicates that the regime did not recognize the play as a threat. Further, its apparently violent and solitary themes have been read as irresponsible or apolitical. For these reasons, the play has been characterized as ambiguous or worse. Sartre himself later saw it as overemphasizing individual autonomy, and in (...) the view of one critic, it conveys an “existentialist fascism.” In response to this reading, it is necessary to attend to the elements of the play that already emphasize duty to society. From this perspective, the play can be seen as anticipating the concern with collectiveresponsibility usually associated with the later Sartre of the 1960s. More than this, the play's apparent “ambiguity” can be found to exemplify a didacticism that is much more complex than sometimes attributed to Sartre. It is not only an exhortation about ethical responsibility, but also a performance of the difficulties attendant to that duty. (shrink)
This essay advocates applying a “narrative” conception of the individual self to the problem of “collectiveresponsibility.” Participants in the debate agree that groups are composed of individuals and that group responsibility must somehow mimic individual responsibility. However, participants do not begin from a neutral and unproblematic conception of the individual. So far, most participants have assumed standard models of the individual that may unduly bias their conclusions about different forms of group responsibility. I argue (...) that switching to a “narrative” conception may provide a more comprehensive and therefore preferable starting point for considering questions of group responsibility. (shrink)
This essay identifies and examines three theses about collectiveresponsibility which are frequently assumed or presupposed in philosophical discussions of collectiveresponsibility. While the first thesis places constraints upon what counts as collectiveresponsibility in a way which is plausible and defensible, It is argued that the constraints placed by theses two and three are unreasonably limiting.
In this article I explore, from a philosophical perspective, what the responsibility for biodiversity means. Biodiversity is a peculiar thing because it consists of the variety of life in its all manifestations, that is, in all its forms, levels and combinations. Variation is a main characteristic of life on earth. Because of its vastness a collective has not only a right but also a duty to take responsibility for biodiversity conservation, and furthermore it has a prima facie (...) duty to implement those measures the accomplishment of this requires. This includes the appropriate legislative and policy means. My argument for collectiveresponsibility is mainly based on contrafactual reasoning, that is, if a collective takes no responsibility for the conservation of biodiversity, then no one takes responsibility. Providing that species extinction is something we definitely want to avoid, collectiveresponsibility is well founded. (shrink)
More than one person can be responsible for a particular state of affairs--In this sense collective moral responsibility does indeed exist. However, Even in such cases, Moral responsibility is still fundamentally individualized since each agent responsible for a particular state of affairs is responsible for his/her actions which have the intention of producing this state of affairs.
In this paper I consider the general view of terrorism put forward by Jan Narveson in his “Pacificism and Terrorism: Why We Should Condemn Both” and by Alan Rosenbaum in his “On Terrorism and the Just War: Some Philosophical Reflections.” This is the view that terrorism is morally indefensible. Contra Narveson and Rosenbaum, I argue that some forms of terrorism are morally defensible in some circumstances.In the first section of the paper I will discuss the definition of terrorism, including the (...) definitions put forward by Narveson and Rosenbaum. In the second section, I will outline an account of collective moral responsibility as a necessary precursor to identifying potentially morally defensible forms of terrorism. In the third section I outline a morally defensible form of terrorism, namely terrorism in which certain categories of morally culpable non-attackers are targeted. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the notion of collective moral responsibility as it pertains both to nation-states contemplating humanitarian armed intervention in international social conflicts, and as it pertains to social groups perpetrating human rights violations in such conflicts. I take the Rwandan genocide as illustrative of such conflicts and make use of it accordingly. I offer an individualist account of collective moral responsibility, according to which collective moral responsibility is a species of joint (...)responsibility. (shrink)
Thomas Pogge claims “that, by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause the monumental suffering of global poverty, we are harming the global poor – or, to put it more descriptively, we are active participants in the largest, though not the gravest, crime against humanity ever committed.” In other words, he claims that by upholding certain international arrangements we are violating our strong negative duties not to harm, and not just some (perhaps much weaker) positive duties (...) to help. I shall argue that even if Pogge were correct in claiming that certain rich states or at least the rich states collectively violate certain negative duties towards the poor and harm the poor, he is far too hasty in concluding that “we,” the citizens of those states, are thus harming the global poor or violating our negative duties towards them. In fact, his conclusion can be shown to be wrong not least of all in the light of some of his own assumptions about collectiveresponsibility, the enforceability of human rights, and terrorism. In addition, I will also argue that his view that we share responsibility for the acts of our political “representatives,” who allegedly act “on our behalf,” is unwarranted. (shrink)
This paper introduces a new family of cases where agents are jointly morally responsible for outcomes over which they have no individual control, a family that resists standard ways of understanding outcome responsibility. First, the agents in these cases do not individually facilitate the outcomes and would not seem individually responsible for them if the other agents were replaced by non-agential causes. This undermines attempts to understand joint responsibility as overlapping individual responsibility; the responsibility in question (...) is essentially joint. Second, the agents involved in these cases are not aware of each other's existence and do not form a social group. This undermines attempts to understand joint responsibility in terms of actual or possible joint action or joint intentions, or in terms of other social ties. Instead, it is argued that intuitions about joint responsibility are best understood given the Explanation Hypothesis, according to which a group of agents are seen as jointly responsible for outcomes that are suitably explained by their motivational structures: something bad happened because they didn’t care enough; something good happened because their dedication was extraordinary. One important consequence of the proposed account is that responsibility for outcomes of collective action is a deeply normative matter. (shrink)
In National Responsibility and Global Justice, David Miller defends the view that a member of a nation can be collectively responsible for an outcome despite the fact that: (i) she did not control it; (ii) she actively opposed those of her nation’s policies that produced the outcome; and (iii) actively opposing the relevant policy was costly for her. I argue that Miller’s arguments in favor of this strong externalist view about responsibility and control are insufficient. Specifically, I show (...) that Miller’s two models of synchronic collectiveresponsibility*the like-minded group model and the cooperative practice model*ground neither synchronic nor diachronic national responsibility, nor apply in the case of nations generally speaking. Keywords: collectiveresponsibility; David Miller; nations; historical responsibility; national responsibility (Published: 19 May 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2009, pp. 109-130. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i2.1935. (shrink)
Intentional collective action -- Collective moral responsibility -- Collective guilt -- Individual responsibility for (and in) collective wrongs -- Collective obligation, individual obligation, and individual moral responsibility -- Individual moral responsibility in wrongful social practice.
Theories of intergenerational obligations usually take the shape of theories of distributive (social) justice. The complexities involved in intergenerational obligations force theorists to simplify. In this article I unpack two popular simplifications: the inevitability of future generations, and the Hardinesque assumption that future individuals are a burden on society but a benefit to parents. The first assumption obscures the fact that future generations consist of individuals whose existence can be a matter of voluntary choice, implying that there are individuals who (...) are responsible and accountable for that choice and for its consequences. The second assumption ignores the fact that the benefits and burdens of future individuals are complex, and different for different “beneficiaries” or “victims.” Introducing individual responsibility for procreation as a (crucially) relevant variable, and allowing a more sophisticated understanding of the impact of new individuals, generates grounds to prioritize the individual’s interest in responsibility for (creating and equipping) future individuals over any collective intergenerational obligation. I illustrate this by introducing a series of moral duties that take precedence over, and perhaps even void, possible collective redistributive duties. (shrink)
Relatively few authors attempt to assess individuals’ moral responsibility for collective action within organizations. I draw on fairly technical recent work by Seamus Miller, Christopher Kutz, and Tracy Isaacs in the field of collectiveresponsibility to see what normative lessons can be prepared for people considering entry into large hierarchical, compartmentalized organizations like businesses or the military. I will defend a view shared by Isaacs that group members’ responsibility for collective action depends on intentions (...) to contribute to particular collective actions, against Miller and Kutz’s more inculpating standards. Miller and Kutz fail to achieve their goal of articulating a variable standard for measuring individual responsibility within organizations, for reasons suggesting we might not be able to do better with their theoretical commitments than a threshold warning for all potential entrants to be wary of the groups they enter. Isaacs sketches an approach that is more successful at creating a variable standard for assessing high echelon actors; I build on and refine her theory to argue that organization members can be held responsible for their unique interpretations of the organization mission and unique contributions to their role duties. High echelon actors may share personal responsibility for their subordinates’ behavior when they have created the conditions for those actions through their unique orders. (shrink)
The paper discusses the limitations of engineering ethics as implemented in practice, with a focus on the fact that engineering and other activities are carried out without any consideration of whether the activities are themselves ethical, and on the gap between legality and ethics. This leads to the following three central ideas of the paper. The first is the need for engineers to both be aware of and critique their own values and be able to widen their perspective to that (...) of the ‘other’, i.e., marginalised and minority groups and the environment. This understanding of the ‘other’ and values is also applied to the discussion of ethical issues relating to minority world (‘developed’) country engineers working in majority world (‘developing’) countries. The second central idea is the fact that structural and contextual factors in the form of barriers and enablers affect ethical values and practices. Individuals are not necessarily unethical in themselves, but the context and organisational ethos may present barriers to ethical behaviour and encourage the development of unethical values. These barriers and enablers are investigated through a pilot survey. The third central idea is the relationship between individual and collectiveresponsibility and the need for support to enable engineers to think and behave ethically. (shrink)
This article examines the responses of two communities to hate crimes in their cities. In particular it explores how community understandings of responsibility shape collective responses to hate crimes. I use the case of Bridesberg, Pennsylvania to explore how anti-racist work is restricted by backward-looking conceptions of moral responsibility (e.g. being responsible). Using recent writings in feminist ethics.(1) I argue for a forward-looking notion that advocates an active view: taking responsibility for attitudes and behaviors that foster (...) climates in which hate crimes are more likely to occur, even when a person's individual actions do not contribute directly to harms. Using the case of Billings, Montana, I explain how recent Not In Our Town campaigns take responsibility for hate crimes in the ways feminist literature suggests. -/- I take as my point of departure hate crimes committed against the family of Bridget Ward, an African American woman, who moved into the suburb of Bridesburg in 1996. When issues of responsibility for racism arose in the local press, most Bridesbergers insisted that their community was not racist; they blamed only the individual vandals. This narrow blame-assigning focus is in keeping with most Anglo-American definitions of responsibility as belonging essentially to individuals and not to communities. Traditionally, moral and legal theory construct responsibility from a perspective that looks downward and back. These perspectives are preoccupied with punishment and reward, praise and blame; they assume justice is done when guilty parties are found and tried. -/- This focus masks deeper community problems. As Elizabeth Spelman remarks, "tolerance is easy if those who are asked to express it need not change a whit." (2) Focus on praise and blame is, in part, a function of race privilege. Bridesberg is 98% white, and part of "the arrogance whitely behavior" is positioning one's self as a judge, expert, and problem solver. (3) The view from this particular subject position limits attention to individuals and their actions, rather than to communities and their practices; it shifts attention away from the fact that Bridesberger's collective practice of distrusting outsiders has lead to hate crimes in the past. Pointing to vandals and claiming "they are racist" does not free one's community of racism. It reinscribes a community spirit that is resistant to change. -/- The second part of this essay explores what communities like Bridesberg might have done to prevent violence. Often there is little individuals alone can do to stop racial violence, but that there is a sense in which community members are obligated to organize themselves. Strategies that focus community responsibility on retribution rather than long-term change, are short lived and ineffective. Anti-racist activism requires a forward-looking view of responsibility: one that aims at inoculating the community against increased risk of violence. This requires taking responsibility for the fact that one's town might foster climates in which hate crimes are more likely to occur. It requires that we begin inquiry in the lives of those harmed. -/- Collective citizen efforts to prevent Aryan groups from gaining a foothold in Billings, Montana offers a clear illustration of how to take responsibility for hate crimes using strategies designed consciously to prevent further hate crimes (e.g., when Black Churches were threatens, all community members attended services there; when a rock was thrown through a window with a menorah, many homes displayed menorahs). The community responses in Billings are a stark contrast to those of Bridesburg, and serve as a powerful example of how forward-looking notions of responsibility can translate into effective political strategy. Although, these strategies are not in and of themselves feminist, they are powerful illustrations of what feminists mean by forward-looking views. The success of resident's collective action and coalition building gave rise to a national Not In Our Town campaign used in about a dozen cities today. (shrink)
Collectivities, just like individuals, exist, can act, bear responsibility for their acts and omissions, and be guilty. It sometimes makes sense to hold them responsible for what they do, or don't do, and to punish them for their misdeeds. With respect to many collectivities there is no practical purpose in holding them responsible, since there is no way that we can bring them to justice. But there are exceptions from this rule. In particular it is plausible to assume that (...) sanctions against entire nations or peoples or populations living in open and democratic states may be an effective means to setting them straight where, collectively, they act wrongly. The best present example of this seems to be the Israelis. (shrink)
Sometimes it seems intuitively plausible to hold loosely structured sets of individuals morally responsible for failing to act collectively. Virginia Held, Larry May, and Torbj rn T nnsj have all drawn this conclusion from thought experiments concerning small groups, although they apply the conclusion to large-scale omissions as well. On the other hand it is commonly assumed that (collective) agency is a necessary condition for (collective) responsibility. If that is true, then how can we hold sets of (...) people responsible for not having acted collectively? This paper argues that that loosely structured inactive groups sometimes meet this requirement if we employ a weak (but nonetheless non-reductionist) notion of collective agency. This notion can be defended on independent grounds. The resulting position on distribution of responsibility is more restrictive than Held's, May's or T nnsj 's, and this consequence seems intuitively attractive. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that contemporary non-Aboriginal Australians can collectively be held responsible for past injustices committed against the Aboriginal peoples of this land. An examination of the role played by history in determining the nature of the present reveals both the temporal extension of the Australian community that confronts the question of responsibility for historical injustice and the ways in which we continue to participate in those same injustices. Because existing injustices suffered by indigenous Australians are (...) essentially continuous with the racist history of the invasion of the Australian continent and dispossession of the Australian Aboriginal peoples, we may be held responsible for the wrongs committed in the course of that history. (shrink)
The academic debate over the propriety of attributing moral responsibility to corporations is decades old and ongoing. The conventional approach to this debate is to identify the sufficient conditions for moral agency and then attempt to determine whether corporations possess them. This article recommends abandoning the conventional approach in favor of an examination of the practical consequences of corporate moral responsibility. The article’s thesis is that such an examination reveals that attributing moral responsibility to corporations is ethically (...) acceptable only if it does not authorize the punishment of corporations as collective entities, and further, that this renders the debate over corporate moral responsibility virtually pointless. (shrink)
In the following essay, the theoretical apparatus for distinguishing various types of collectivities (aggregates and conglomerates) is described. This is followed by a consideration of how responsibility ascriptions to different types of collectivities are to be understood vis à vis those to individual group members. It is suggested that the "medical profession" (distinctly different from the "medical team" and the "hospital corporation") is an aggregate collectivity. That is, the "medical profession" consists of the "sum" of the identities of its (...) membership, which can be shown to entail that if the "profession" is held responsible for something, each of its members is responsible, in some way, for it. This is to suggest that the "medical profession" is not a shield that hides individual medical practitioners from responsibility for the general state of health care. Quite the contrary. The use of the name of the aggregate in such a responsibility ascription puts each and every one of them "on call." CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Does our responsibility extend to deeds that have been performed in our name? Is our modern understanding of responsibility in need of revision? Arendt holds that it is not necessary to revise our conception of responsibility since there are two forms of responsibility: a moral and a political one. Margalit, in turn, argues that our conception of responsibility is too narrow. We are not only morally responsible for the deeds we have performed or neglected to (...) perform but also for the deeds carried out in our name. I believe neither position to be entirely coherent: Arendt is mistaken to argue that collectiveresponsibility is free from moral expressions and Margalit conflates political with moral responsibility and confuses guilt with shame. The article concludes that moral responsibility is distinct from collectiveresponsibility, even though the former retains elements of the latter. (shrink)
We criticize the following views: only the rapist is responsible since only he committed the act; no one is responsible since rape is a biological response to stimuli; everyone is responsible since men and women contribute to the rape culture; and patriarchy is responsible but no person or group. We then argue that, in some societies, men are collectively responsible for rape since most benefit from rape and most are similar to the rapist.
Towards the end of her seminal work on the notion of representation Hanna Pitkin makes the following observation:At the end of the Second World War and during the Nuremberg trials there was much speculation about the war guilt of the German people. [...] Many people might argue the responsibility of the German people even though a Nazi government was not representative. We might agree, however, that in the case of a representative government the responsibility would be more clear-cut.2As (...) Pitkin suggests in this quotation, there is a common underlying assumption, both in academic writings and in popular perceptions of democracy, that a people living under a democratic government is ultimately responsible for that .. (shrink)
This research explored the attitudes of 386 Chinese adolescent students toward collective and communicable responsibility, using three scenarios involving school, society and history, with two different situations and two types of projections per scenario. The results showed that: (1) the majority of Chinese adolescents believed that collective and communicable responsibility was unjust, and this belief differed significantly with different age groups; (2) the majority expressed the view that collective and communicable responsibility could be understood (...) and accepted; (3) their feelings toward collective and communicable responsibility were negative; (4) most showed willingness to take responsibility for misbehaviour in order to avoid collective punishment, and this willingness became stronger with increasing age; and (5) attitudes toward collective and communicable responsibility differed between two situations (?do not know the offender? and ?do not expose the offender?), between two projections (general projection and role?taking projection) and between the three scenarios of school, society and history. (shrink)