Group Agency and Overdetermination

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):295-307 (2013)

Authors
David Killoren
Australian Catholic University
Bekka Williams
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
A morally objectionable outcome can be overdetermined by the actions of multiple individual agents. In such cases, the outcome is the same regardless of what any individual does or does not do. (For a clear example of such a case, imagine the execution of an innocent person by a firing squad.) We argue that, in some of these types of cases, (a) there exists a group agent, a moral agent constituted by individual agents; (b) the group agent is guilty of violating a moral obligation; however, (c) none of the individual agents violate any of their moral obligations. We explicate and defend this view, and consider its applications to problems generated by anthropogenic climate change and electoral politics
Keywords Group agency  Overdetermination  Climate change  Electoral politics
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9336-9
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Readings in Philosophy of Psychology.Ned Block (ed.) - 1980 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
Do I Make a Difference?Shelly Kagan - 2011 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (2):105-141.

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Citations of this work BETA

Climate Harms.Garrett Cullity - 2019 - The Monist 102 (1):22-41.
Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Moral Responsibility for Distant Collective Harms.David Zoller - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):995-1010.

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