Individual Responsibility in a Global Age *

Samuel Scheffler

in Boundaries and Allegiances

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199257676
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600197 | DOI:
 Individual Responsibility in a Global Age *

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By attaching significance to the distinction between doing and failing to prevent and by recognizing special obligations to family members and others, common‐sense morality limits the size of an agent's moral world. Consequentialism, by contrast, upholds a more expansive notion of normative responsibility that neither assigns intrinsic moral significance to the distinction between doing and failing to prevent nor recognizes special obligations as a fundamental moral category. The conflict between restrictive and expansive notions of normative responsibility has a parallel in modern political life, in the opposition between nationalism and other varieties of particularism, on the one hand, and globalism or universalism, on the other. The opposing pulls of global integration and ethnic fragmentation pose a political problem that, Scheffler argues, we are unlikely to resolve without attaining greater stability in our thinking about normative responsibility more generally.

Keywords: common‐sense morality; consequentialism; ethnicity; global integration; nationalismnormative responsibility; particularism; special obligations; universalism

Chapter.  7859 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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