The Monist 102 (2):172-186 (2019)

Joseph Kisolo-Ssonko
Nottingham University
Charles Mills claims that there are specific “civic and political duties” which individuals have a responsibility to fulfil because of the racial social roles they occupy. However, even those generally sympathetic to Role Ethics resist the idea that such nonvoluntary and morally problematic roles could ground genuine normativity. I argue that we should take the felt normativity of nonideal social roles seriously. Further, I argue that we should agree with Mills that one’s race constitutes a social role with normative force. However, I claim that Mills is wrong to seek to ground this normativity in an actual social contract and I argue instead that Margaret Gilbert’s account of joint commitment, and its accompanying notion of collective intentionality, can be developed so as to provide a more promising proposal. I conclude that the responsibility to abide by the norms in question is better understood as grounded in the individual role holder’s involvement in the collective intentionality of the relevant racial class.
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DOI 10.1093/monist/onz004
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References found in this work BETA

[Book Review] the Racial Contract. [REVIEW]Charles W. Mills - 1999 - Social Theory and Practice 25 (1):155-160.
On Social Facts.Margaret Gilbert - 1989 - Ethics 102 (4):853-856.
On Social Facts.Michael Root - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (3):675.
“Ideal Theory” as Ideology.Charles W. Mills - 2005 - Hypatia 20 (3):165-184.

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