Journal of Social Philosophy 45 (4):478-497 (2014)

David J. Zoller
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
There has been considerable recent interest in the “collective moral autonomy” thesis (CMA), that is, the notion that we can predicate moral successes, failures, and duties of collectives even if there are no comparable successes, failures, and duties among members. One reason why this position looks appealing is because the opposing individualist position seems to have what we might call an accounting problem. Individualists maintain that only individuals can be subjects of moral success, failure, or duty; however, many reasonable judgments about collective actions include moral information on a scale and of a stringency that it does not seem possible to predicate even of the duties of members who have steering power in the actions of the collective. Here I offer a paradigm for thinking about responsibility judgments in organized collective cases to help individualism solve its accounting problem, and allow us to account within a strict individualist perspective for moral information that ostensibly favors CMA.
Keywords Collective Responsibility  Ethics  Collective Intentionality  Moral Responsibility  Guilt  Individualism  Collective
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DOI 10.1111/josp.12078
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