Collective Moral Responsibility

Produktinformationen "Collective Moral Responsibility"

This book explores a universal question of human social order: Under what circumstances and to what extent is the individual to be held morally responsible for collective events? This question reaches far beyond the intentions and actions of a particular business enterprise, state or a similar large-scale collective. The philosopher Wolfgang Sohst (Berlin, Germany) investigates the subject with unprecedented thoroughness, covering the whole range of contemporary discussion on this subject. He provides a detailed analysis of the functions of individual members in such a collective, the structural prerequisites for them to be held responsible for acts which they have not directly committed themselves and the transmission of responsibility even to successor generations of the perpetrators collective.

Table of contents:

1        Actors and Moral Action
1.1     On the concepts of actors and action
1.2     The simultaneous emergence of actor and action
1.3     The difference between a unit of event and a unit of action
1.4     The difference between legal and moral responsible action

2        The Continuum Between Individual and Corporate Actor
2.1     The relationship between a single human actor and a corporate actor
2.1.1   The primary responsibility of the individual actor and the ontological status of the collective
2.1.2   Additional arguments for putting collective responsibility onto the individual actor
2.2     The levels within structural consolidation
2.3     A different schematic view: Community, Society, State
2.4     Direct vs. organized sociality
2.5     Conflicts of application in assigning collective responsibility

3        Individual and Collective Actions
3.1     A better form of social reductionism
3.2     Corporate bodies as a bundle of agency relationships
3.3     The horizon of view for collective social phenomena

4        The Corporate Entity as a Moral Subject
4.1     Are corporate actors also morally responsible?
4.2     Corporate bodies as norm subjects

5        Possible criteria for the moral qualification of collective action
5.1     Membership in a group
5.2     Success of an action
5.3    Shared intentionality or purpose, common interests and common consciousness
5.4     Social relationships between actors as a condition of collective action
5.5     Subjective and factual feelings of collective responsibility
5.6     The community of shared values
5.7     Social identity
5.8     Origin and ethnic belonging
5.9     No equality in injustice

6        Norm-based and Purpose-oriented Organization
6.1     No collective responsibility without inner organization
6.2     Collective shame as an indication of collective responsibility
6.3     Individual responsibility for collective norms
6.4     The collective organization as an independent unit of purpose for the collective
6.4.1  The actualistic perspective
6.4.2  Structural persistence
6.4.3  Possible counter-examples of structural persistence
6.5     The other side of collective responsibility
6.6     Interim Result

7     Moral Responsibility of the Individual from an International Perspective

8       Social Norms and Our Responsibility for their Fulfillment
8.1     Norm dimensions
8.2     The overarching importance of norm ranking in assigning collective moral responsibility
8.3     Private and public norms
8.4     Subjective ‘ought’ and personal responsibility
8.5     The obligation to morally acceptable and coherent behavior

9        The Difference between Culpability and Responsibility

10      The Temporal Horizon of Collective Moral Responsibility



172 pages, 8 illustrations / Hardcover.

ISBN: 978-3-942106-51-1 - 22,80 € (within Germany free shipping)

This book was originally pubished at xenomoi in German as the second contribution in: Bernhard Sutor / Wolfgang Sohst: "Politische Ethik und Kollektive Verantwortung".