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Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts$
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Tracy Isaacs

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782963

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782963.001.0001

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Individual Responsibility for (and in) Collective Wrongs

Individual Responsibility for (and in) Collective Wrongs

(p.97) 4 Individual Responsibility for (and in) Collective Wrongs
Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts

Tracy Isaacs

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses concerns that, given collective responsibility, we might lose a foothold for establishing individual responsibility in these cases. Ought we be concerned about a normative loss? This chapter addresses this concern in two ways. First, it examines its accuracy of the claim that only collectives can be responsible for collective wrongdoing and considers the possibility that individuals can sometimes be responsible, as individuals, for collective acts. It concludes that individuals cannot be responsible for collective acts. Second, it provides an account of individual responsibility in organizational wrongdoing and in the wrongdoing of goal-oriented collectives. Although individuals cannot be responsible for collective actions as such, they may still be responsible for their contributions to collective actions, and the collective context has an impact on their responsibility as individuals.

Keywords:   individual responsibility, collective action, collective responsibility, collective wrong, collective harm, accordian effect, Donald Davidson

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