It is commonplace to attribute obligations to φ or blameworthiness for φ-ing to groups even when no member has an obligation to φ or is individually blameworthy for not φ-ing. Such non-distributive attributions can seem problematic in cases where the group is not a moral agent in its own right. In response, it has been argued both that non-agential groups can have the capabilities requisite to have obligations of their own, and that group obligations can be understood in terms of (...) moral demands on individual group members. It has also been suggested that members of groups can share responsibility for an outcome in virtue of being causally or socially connected to that outcome. This paper discusses the agency problem and argues that the most promising attempts at solutions understand group obligations and blameworthiness as grounded in demands on individual agents. (shrink)
This paper defends the claim that collectiveresponsibility can be based on group membership. It argues that collectiveresponsibility is best understood in terms of duties to respond to the victims of collective crimes. Reasonable fear on the part of the victimized groups creates duties to respond for members of the perpetrating group. This account does a better job of capturing our intuitions about actual cases and the phenomenology of collectiveresponsibility than other (...) accounts currently on offer. It also offers us a justification of collectiveresponsibility judgments that is compatible with the separateness of persons. (shrink)
Which kinds of responsibility can we attribute to which kinds of collective, and why? In contrast, which kinds of collectiveresponsibility can we not attribute—which kinds are ‘gappy’? This study provides a framework for answering these questions. It begins by distinguishing between three kinds of collective and three kinds of responsibility. It then explains how gaps—i.e. cases where we cannot attribute the responsibility we might want to—appear to arise within each type of (...) class='Hi'>collectiveresponsibility. It argues some of these gaps do not exist on closer inspection, at least for some collectives and some of the time. (shrink)
The basic bearer of responsibility is individuals, because that isall there are – nothing else can literally be the bearer of fullresponsibility. Claims about group responsibility therefore needanalysis. This would be impossible if all actions must be understoodas ones that could be performed whether or not anyone else exists.Individuals often act by virtue of membership in certain groups;often such membership bears a causal role in our behavior, andsometimes people act deliberately in order to promote the prospectsof members of (...) a given group. Nevertheless, it is rational to awardproportionally to individual contributions to those actions andindividual shares in the production of the consequences of thoseactions. (shrink)
If I were asked to put forward an ethical principle which I considered to be especially certain, it would be that no one can be responsible, in the properly ethical sense, for the conduct of another. Responsibility belongs essentially to the individual. The implications of this principle are much more far-reaching than is evident at first, and reflection upon them may lead many to withdraw the assent which they might otherwise be very ready to accord to this view of (...)responsibility. But if the difficulties do appear to be insurmountable, and that, very certainly, does not seem to me to be the case, then the proper procedure will be, not to revert to the barbarous notion of collective or group responsibility, but to give up altogether the view that we are accountable in any distinctively moral sense. (shrink)
Many contemporary forms of oppression are not primarily the result of formally organized collective action nor are they an unintended outcome of a combination of individual actions. This raises the question of collectiveresponsibility. I argue that we can only determine who is responsible for oppression if we understand oppression as a matter of social practices that create obstacles for social change. This social practice view of oppression enables two insights: First, that there is an unproblematic sense (...) in which groups can bear irreducible collectiveresponsibility for oppression. Second, that there are derived forms of individual responsibility for members of dominant groups. (shrink)
The article presents the nature of shared intentions and collectiveresponsibility in simultaneous discussion of individualism, which views that collective agents and shared intentions are to be analyzed in relation between individual agents who are members of the collectives. It discusses as well the agent meaning theory that states that an agent moves against the interpretive background of action evaluation shared by the agent and the moral community.
There is good reason to think that moral responsibility as accountability is tied to the violation of moral demands. This lends intuitive support to Type-Symmetry in the collective realm: A type of responsibility entails the violation or unfulfillment of the same type of all-things-considered duty. For example, collectiveresponsibility necessarily entails the violation of a collective duty. But Type-Symmetry is false. In this paper I argue that a non-agential group can be collectively responsible without (...) thereby violating a collective duty. To show this I distinguish between four types of responsibility and duty in collective contexts: corporate, distributed, collective, shared. I set out two cases: one involves a non-reductive collective action that constitutes irreducible wrongdoing, the other involves a non-divisible consequence. I show that the violation of individual or shared duties both can lead to irreducible wrongdoing for which only the group is responsible. Finally, I explain why this conclusion does not upset any work on individual responsibility. (shrink)
Philosophers constantly discuss Responsibility. Yet in every discussion of which I am aware, a rather obvious point is ignored. The obvious point is that responsibility is ascribed to collectives, as well as to individual persons. Blaming attitudes are held towards collectives as well as towards individuals. Responsibility is often ascribed to nations, towns, clubs, groups, teams, and married couples. ‘Germany was responsible for the Second World War’; ‘The club as a whole is to blame for being relegated’. (...) Such statements are not rare. (shrink)
This article argues against Anna Stilz's recent attempt to solve the problem of citizens' collectiveresponsibility in democratic states. I show that her solution could only apply to state actions that are (in legal terminology) unjustified but excusable. Stilz's marquee case – the 2003 invasion of Iraq – does not, I will argue, fit this bill; nor, in all likelihood, does any other case in recorded history. Thus, this article concludes, we may allow that Stilz's argument offers a (...) theoretically cogent case for citizens' task-responsibility in democratic states (given the right conditions); it just so happens that few if any cases satisfy these conditions. (shrink)
The article presents critical examination of theories about collectiveresponsibility attempting to cover responsibility for historic injustices. The author will also try to establish the possibility of collectiveresponsibility for the present members of the group to make recompense for the injustices committed by their ancestors depending on two factors expounded in the article.
In his paper ‘CollectiveResponsibility’ Mr. D. E. Cooper argues for the thesis that collectives can be held responsible in a sense not reducible to the individual responsibility of the members of the collective. And he uses this conclusion to support views of individual responsibility and of blame and punishment which he wishes to assert independently. Is hall argue that although there is a sense in which the actions and responsibility of a collective (...) cannot be analysed in terms of the actions and responsibilities of the individual persons who compose the collective, it is not moral responsibility which is involved. I shall then maintain that Cooper's account of collectiveresponsibility does not support his account of individual responsibility; and that his account of individual responsibility is in any case false, if he means moral responsiblity. (shrink)
Towards the end of her seminal work on the notion of representation Hanna Pitkin makes the following observation:At the end of the Second World War and during the Nuremberg trials there was much speculation about the war guilt of the German people. [...] Many people might argue the responsibility of the German people even though a Nazi government was not representative. We might agree, however, that in the case of a representative government the responsibility would be more clear-cut.2As (...) Pitkin suggests in this quotation, there is a common underlying assumption, both in academic writings and in popular perceptions of democracy, that a people living under a democratic government is ultimately responsible for that .. (shrink)
Groups of people are commonly said to be collectively responsible for what has happened. Sometimes the groups claimed to be responsible are vast in size, as when collectiveresponsibility is ascribed to the class of all Americans or the class of all white males. In this book the concept of collectiveresponsibility is analyzed. It is examined not only in the light of what philosophical proponents have said about it, but a genuine attempt is made to (...) make sense of what ordinary people say about responsibility when it is ascribed to groups of people. Accordingly, it is distinguished from related concepts such as shared responsibility and moral taint. Parallels are examined between the actions of an individual and the actions of a group or collective, parallels which seem to make ascriptions of collectiveresponsibility more plausible. Some philosophers oppose collectiveresponsibility and argue for an individualist type of position; in this regard the positions of Lewis and Sverdlik are critically examined. The final chapter contains the author's own position, a position which affirms that collectiveresponsibility is possible but which also preserves some of the central intuitions of the individualist. (shrink)
More than one person can be responsible for a particular state of affairs--In this sense collective moral responsibility does indeed exist. However, Even in such cases, Moral responsibility is still fundamentally individualized since each agent responsible for a particular state of affairs is responsible for his/her actions which have the intention of producing this state of affairs.
In the first part of the paper an argument is developed to the effect that (1) there is no moral ground for individual persons to feel responsible for or guilty about crimes of their group to which they have in no way contributed; and (2) since there is no irreducibly collectiveresponsibility nor guilt at any time, there is no question of them persisting over time. In the second part it is argued that there is nevertheless sufficient reason (...) for innocent individual members of a group (that persists over time) to take on responsibility and guilt for the evil other (earlier) members have committed. The reason depends on the acceptability of a particular psychological theory of personal identity. (shrink)
The article presents the issues arising from the memberships of moral agents in collectives that have the burden of moral responsibility. Likewise, it examines the qualifying actions that qualify their membership including deliberate contribution, risk taking and others. It differentiates collectiveresponsibility to shared responsibility.
In his recent book, National responsibility and global justice, David Miller conceptualizes and justifies a model of national responsibility. His conceptualization proceeds in two steps: he starts by developing two models of collectiveresponsibility, the like?minded group model and the cooperative practice model. He then proceeds to discuss national responsibility, a species of collectiveresponsibility, and argues that nations have features such that the two models of collectiveresponsibility also apply to (...) them. In this article I focus on the question whether Miller?s like?minded group model and the cooperative practice model are plausible and convincing models of collectiveresponsibility. I will argue that the like?minded model does not provide a plausible conceptualization of collectiveresponsibility, while the collective practice model provides a good model for collectiveresponsibility but is not particularly helpful in conceptualizing national responsibility. (shrink)
How can we make sense of future-looking collectiveresponsibility? What is its moral basis and how -- under what conditions -- can we ascribe it to particular groups? I address these questions below and, in doing so, argue that in ascribing future-looking collectiveresponsibility we need to bring claims of backward-looking (causal) responsibility together with judgments of fairness, practicality, and group identity.
This essay advocates applying a “narrative” conception of the individual self to the problem of “collectiveresponsibility.” Participants in the debate agree that groups are composed of individuals and that group responsibility must somehow mimic individual responsibility. However, participants do not begin from a neutral and unproblematic conception of the individual. So far, most participants have assumed standard models of the individual that may unduly bias their conclusions about different forms of group responsibility. I argue (...) that switching to a “narrative” conception may provide a more comprehensive and therefore preferable starting point for considering questions of group responsibility. (shrink)
Towards the end of her seminal work on the notion of representation Hanna Pitkin makes the following observation:At the end of the Second World War and during the Nuremberg trials there was much speculation about the war guilt of the German people. […] Many people might argue the responsibility of the German people even though a Nazi government was not representative. We might agree, however, that in the case of a representative government the responsibility would be more clear-cut.
Flores and Johnson (Ethics 93 No. 3 (1983) pp. 537, 545.) offer a solution to the problem of individual and collectiveresponsibility which obscures the fundamental requirement for responsibility ascriptions, namely, moral agency. Close attention to matters of individual and collective agency provides a simple yet defensible criterion for establishing when an individual is and isn't responsible for the untoward consequences of a collective act.
The debate surrounding the issue of collective moral responsibility is often steeped in metaphysical issues of agency and personhood. I suggest that we can approach the metaphysical problems surrounding the issue of collectiveresponsibility in a roundabout manner. My approach is reminiscent of that taken by P.F. Strawson in "Freedom and Resentment" (1968). Strawson argues that the participant reactive attitudes - attitudes like resentment, gratitude, forgiveness and so on - provide the justification for holding individuals morally (...) responsible. I argue that the framework of the reactive attitudes extends to collectives and provides the justification for holding collectives morally responsible. (shrink)
In the following essay, the theoretical apparatus for distinguishing various types of collectivities (aggregates and conglomerates) is described. This is followed by a consideration of how responsibility ascriptions to different types of collectivities are to be understood vis à vis those to individual group members. It is suggested that the "medical profession" (distinctly different from the "medical team" and the "hospital corporation") is an aggregate collectivity. That is, the "medical profession" consists of the "sum" of the identities of its (...) membership, which can be shown to entail that if the "profession" is held responsible for something, each of its members is responsible, in some way, for it. This is to suggest that the "medical profession" is not a shield that hides individual medical practitioners from responsibility for the general state of health care. Quite the contrary. The use of the name of the aggregate in such a responsibility ascription puts each and every one of them "on call." CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The debate surrounding the issue of collective moral responsibility is often steeped in metaphysical issues of agency and personhood. I suggest that we can approach the metaphysical problems surrounding the issue of collectiveresponsibility in a roundabout manner. My approach is reminiscent of that taken by P.F. Strawson in “Freedom and Resentment”. Strawson argues that the participant reactive attitudes - attitudes like resentment, gratitude, forgiveness and so on - provide the justification for holding individuals morally responsible. (...) I argue that the framework of the reactive attitudes extends to collectives and provides the justification for holding collectives morally responsible. (shrink)
Individualists hold that moral responsibility can be ascribed to single human beings only. An important collectivist objection is that individualism is morally deficient because it leaves a normative residue. Without attributing responsibility to collectives there remains a “deficit in the accounting books” (Pettit). This collectivist strategy often uses judgment aggregation paradoxes to show that the collective can be responsible when no individual is. I argue that we do not need collectivism to handle such cases because the individualist (...) analysis leaves no responsibility-deficit. Harm suffered in such situations can have only two sources. Harm is either due to culpable wrongdoing by individuals. Harm is then redressed by holding these individuals responsible. Or harm does not result from culpable wrongdoing. Such harm may have to be redressed too, but not because anyone is responsible for it. Therefore, the charge of moral insensitivity against individualist accounts can be rejected. Furthermore, in the last section of the chapter I will show that collectivist talk about moral responsibility can be used for ethically questionable purposes as well. Collectivists cannot claim the moral high ground. (shrink)
Ruth Marcus has offered an account of moral dilemmas in which the presence of dilemmas acts as a motivating force, pushing us to try to minimize predicaments of moral conflict. In this paper, I defend a Marcus-style account of dilemmas against two objections: first, that if dilemmas are real, we are forced to blame those who have done their best, and second, that in some cases, even a stripped down version of blame seems inappropriate. My account highlights the importance of (...)collectiveresponsibility in understanding dilemmas, and I suggest that it sheds light on understanding moral progress. (shrink)
Among the collective as well as individual responsibilities of nurses as professionals is that of maintaining and improving the quality of nursing care. In exchange for monopoly status and professional authority to control nursing practice, the profession is charged with the responsibility of meeting the nursing care needs of the community. If one claims, as I do, that one of the collective responsibilities of nurses is maintenance of high nursing standards, we must examine what action is required (...) of nurses who find themselves in work contexts in which standards and practice are deficient. Specifically, is the strike weapon one that may or even ought to be used? In this essay, answers to the following two questions are advanced: (a) What conditions must obtain for it to be (morally) right for nurses in a particular health care facility to strike? (b) Does their collectiveresponsibility with regard to nursing standards and practice ever entail that a group of nurses has a (moral) duty to strike? The essay concludes with a consideration of how one balances the collectiveresponsibility to maintain and improve the quality of nursing care with an individual nurse's responsibility to her/his own patients. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Building on Peter French’s important work, this chapter draws three distinctions that arise in the context of attributions of moral responsibility, understood as the extent to which an agent is blameworthy or praiseworthy. First, the subject of an attribution of responsibility may be an individual agent or a collective agent. Second, the object of the responsibility attribution may be an individual action (or consequence) or a collective action (or consequence). The third distinction concerns the temporal (...) dimension of the responsibility attribution. Sometimes responsibility for an action is attributed to an agent at the time of the action. At other times responsibility for an action is attributed to an agent sometime after the action has taken place. Taken together, these three binary distinctions yield eight types of responsibility attribution. It is argued that a collective agent’s responsibility for a past collective act is properly understood on the same theoretical model as is an individual’s responsibility for a past individual act. While most assume that responsibility over time is a straightforward matter of identity over time, it is argued that instead this is a matter of psychological or attitudinal connectedness. The possibility is considered that this relation also grounds attributions involving an asymmetry between subject and object, such as individual responsibility for past collective action, but a skeptical worry is raised that such attributions entail an unpalatable form of moral luck and should therefore be rejected. (shrink)
We criticize the following views: only the rapist is responsible since only he committed the act; no one is responsible since rape is a biological response to stimuli; everyone is responsible since men and women contribute to the rape culture; and patriarchy is responsible but no person or group. We then argue that, in some societies, men are collectively responsible for rape since most benefit from rape and most are similar to the rapist.
In this paper I explore the notion of collective moral responsibility as it pertains both to nation-states contemplating humanitarian armed intervention in international social conflicts, and as it pertains to social groups perpetrating human rights violations in such conflicts. I take the Rwandan genocide as illustrative of such conflicts and make use of it accordingly. I offer an individualist account of collective moral responsibility, according to which collective moral responsibility is a species of joint (...)responsibility. (shrink)
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