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The Epistemic Life of GroupsEssays in the Epistemology of Collectives$
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Michael S. Brady and Miranda Fricker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.001.0001

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The Transfer of Duties

The Transfer of Duties

From Individuals to States and Back Again

Chapter:
(p.150) 8 The Transfer of Duties
Source:
The Epistemic Life of Groups
Author(s):

Stephanie Collins

Holly Lawford-Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.003.0009

We often make claims about the duties of states. One might think, for example, that Australia has a duty to legalize homosexual marriage, or that the United States has a duty to make healthcare affordable. Can such duties be explained in terms of individuals’ duties? This chapter argues that many—though not all—can. The chapter builds a general and abstract analysis of how some collectives’ duties are explained by individuals’ duties, and applies it to states in a way that retains common-sense intuitions about states’ duties. It then uses that analysis to suggest a new sense of membership in a state. The analysis depends crucially on epistemic elements, including the beliefs and transfers of information required for reciprocal recognition and intentional participation; certain other bidirectional transfers of knowledge; and the required degree of justification for certain key beliefs.

Keywords:   states, duties, membership, information, recognition, participation, transfer, knowledge

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