Collective Responsibility for Unjust Wars

POLITICS 32 (2):100-108 (2012)
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Abstract

This article argues against Anna Stilz's recent attempt to solve the problem of citizens' collective responsibility 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.

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Endre Begby
Simon Fraser University

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