Collective Reasons and Agent-Relativity

Utilitas 34 (1):57-69 (2022)
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Could it be true that even though we as a group ought to do something, you as an individual ought not to do your part? And under what conditions, in particular, could this happen? In this article, I discuss how a certain kind of case, introduced by David Copp, illustrates the possibility that you ought not to do your part even when you would be playing a crucial causal role in the group action. This is because you may have special agent-relative reasons against participating that are not shared by the group as a whole. I defend the claim that these are indeed cases in which you ought not to do your part in what the group ought to do. I then argue that we can expect these cases to produce a troubling kind of rational conflict.

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Author's Profile

Alexander Dietz
University of Southern California (PhD)

Citations of this work

Moral dilemmas.Terrance McConnell - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Collective Intentions and Actions.John Searle - 1990 - In Philip R. Cohen Jerry Morgan & Martha Pollack (eds.), Intentions in Communication. MIT Press. pp. 401-415.
Collective harm and the inefficacy problem.Julia Nefsky - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (4):e12587.
Should the numbers count?John Taurek - 1977 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):293-316.
We-Intentions.Raimo Tuomela & Kaarlo Miller - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (3):367-389.
Moral dilemmas and consistency.Ruth Barcan Marcus - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):121-136.

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