Individual Responsibility for (and in) Collective Wrongs

Tracy Isaacs

in Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782963
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897117 | DOI:
Individual Responsibility for (and in) Collective Wrongs

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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

Chapter.  10232 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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