Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):627-642 (2017)

Anthony Reeves
State University of New York at Binghamton
How does morality allocate responsibility for what it requires? I am concerned here with one fundamental part of this question, namely, how morality determines responsibility when multiple agents are capable of contributing to or completing a moral task, and special relationships capable of generating duties with respect to the task are non-existent, insufficient as a moral response, or partly indeterminate. On one view, responsibility falls to the agents who can bear it with the least burden. I show why this is initially attractive and mistaken. Instead, I defend an equity-based approach that accommodates the intuitions that both support and trouble the least-cost principle. One upshot is that sometimes we ought prefer a distribution of responsibility that is more expensive and less local than needed to complete the task. I illustrate the practical significance of the argument in terms of the human rights of refugees.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-017-9808-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,037
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Oxford University Press USA.
Responsibility for Justice.Iris Marion Young - 2011 - Oxford University Press USA.
Political Theory and International Relations.Charles R. Beitz - 1979 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Agricultural Technology, Wealth, and Responsibility.Gene Wunderlich - 1990 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 3 (1):21-35.
Poverty and Human Rights.Qiang Chen - 2009 - Philosophy and Culture 36 (7):3-14.
How to Think About the Problem of Non-State Actors and Human Rights.Saladin Meckled-Garcia - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 11:41-60.
Global Responsibility for Human Rights.Sigrun I. Skogly - 2009 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 29 (4):827-847.


Added to PP index

Total views
47 ( #229,050 of 2,454,419 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #179,336 of 2,454,419 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes