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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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Collective Moral Responsibility

Collective Moral Responsibility

(p.52) 2 Collective Moral Responsibility
Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts

Tracy Isaacs

Oxford University Press

Philosophical approaches to collective moral responsibility fall into two main categories, individualist and collectivist. Individualists think of it as a reductive concept; collectivists think of it more holistically. Having argued in Chapter 1 that collectives’ intentional actions flow from their intentions, this chapter claims that we may therefore understand collective moral responsibility as operating at a different level from individual responsibility and as being justified by appeal to collective intentions and the actions to which they give rise. Collective moral responsibility is not a function of the moral responsibility of individuals. Instead, it is a function of the agency of collectives. This chapter explains, motivates, and defends a collectivist account of collective moral responsibility.

Keywords:   collective moral responsibility, collective intentional action, collective intention, collective action, collective responsibility, collective agency

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