collective moral autonomy thesis

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Collective moral autonomy thesis

The majority of positions on these issues are grounded in some version of methodological or normative individualism, and most of these present some version of a contractualist analysis of the aggregationist conception of groups. Manuel Velasquez takes the position that in spite of its organizational complexity, a corporation is ultimately a group of humans who are engaged among themselves in a variety of specific occupational and professional relationships which each believes to be in his or her self-interest.

Corporate actions are the result of procedures and policies intentionally designed by members of the corporation to achieve specific goals. If harm is caused or wrongdoing occurs, moral responsibility is borne by individuals to the extent that each one participated in policy formulation, implementation, or oversight. Velasquez does support the vicarious liability of the corporation itself in cases where there is an absence of punishable individual members or to compensate victims of corporate harm.

For Keeley, a corporation is a contractual nexus representing mutually self-interested human contractors. A central aspect of this nexus is the hiring of managers and directors to maximize their financial investments.

For Keeley, the only intentions are individual human ones. The goals that guide corporate actions and give direction to the activities of its members are an inseparable admixture of overlapping individual goals. Wittgenstein offers a very useful observation in Remarks on Colour that is an analogy for the shortcomings of methodological individualism:.

Description of a jig-saw puzzle by means of the description of its pieces. I assume that these pieces never exhibit a three-dimensional form, but always appear as small flat bits, single- or many-coloured. Anscombe , p. The main appeal of methodological individualism is ideological. Paul Thompson in Curtler , pp. Many individualist critics of collective moral responsibility attempt to show that only individuals can act and groups cannot make choices or possess desires and beliefs which it is claimed make group intentionality impossible.

Even if corporations and social groups are actual entities in the world which has not been established , a corporation lacks cognitive ability to follow reasons. It cannot act, let alone be considered an agent whose actions can elicit praise or blame.

In the absence of beliefs and desires, reasons and actions cannot be attributed to an entity Wall , p. Wall assumes that arguments that organizations can act must contain the metaphysical claim that actual group entities, separate from their members, exist. Further, organizations, such as corporations, are decision making, goal-pursuing structures that act for reasons which are not reducible to individual intentions.

The activities of group members in their roles in the internal decision structure make collective cognitive abilities possible. Larry May , , , believes that corporate actions are best conceived of on the model of vicarious agency.

He holds that the corporation is a place-holder for the actions of many individuals. For May, corporate actions are complex arrangements or manifestations of the joint and vicarious actions of individuals. It is these complex human interactions that ground collective intentions and collective responsibility. He also implies that the theory of corporate moral agency is associated with a number of constitutional rights, such as the 14 th Amendment in and more recently, aspects of the 1 st Amendment being extended to corporations.

Both of these legal developments took place during periods in which the individualistic contract model of corporations was dominant. Ladd does believe that bureaucracies, i. In his view, corporations are able to rationally calculate to achieve a repertoire of specifically defined goals and therefore, can employ language to guide action in a somewhat limited sense.

Organizations can even incorporate moral considerations, which serve as limitations on collective actions. For Ladd, this is not the authentic use of moral language, but rather only the reflection of conventional norms of behavior. Ladd uses the analogies of a computer or a complex machine to help clarify his position on organizations and morality. The actions of organizations are less rule-governed than Ladd seems to recognize.

He has in mind a Weberian ideal type which will operate much like a language game. Organizations cannot operate at the highest level of moral development, but many individual humans will not or cannot operate at that level either. Dan-Cohen employs a thought experiment in which all members of a corporation, including all managers, are replaced by computers that are responsible, in addition to more mundane functions, for all planning and decision making.

He believes such a development is conceivable and feasible, and that the replacement of people by computers would have little effect on the operations of the firm. He thinks this characterization is well suited to show the distinctiveness of important organizational qualities. For most purposes, Dan-Cohen finds it advantageous overall to view organizations from a holistic perspective.

He finds that a holistic view is preferable to the individualistic view, but he makes it clear that:. The intelligibility of such holistic terminology as we daily use need not accordingly depend on a metaphorical personification of the organization nor on some far-reaching metaphysical commitments Dan-Cohen , p. Organizational theory is the least explored body of valuable research for philosophers involved with the issue of collective moral responsibility.

The following passage is a valuable summary drawn from this important body of empirical research:. The permanence of organizations renders them temporarily independent: they operate on a different time scale, in terms of both their memory and their planning, from that of any particular individual.

Being structures, organizations are manipulable: their performance is amenable to change through structural modifications. And finally, due to the nature of their decision making function, organizations can be plausibly seen as intentional systems endowed with organizational intelligence Dan-Cohen , pp. The recognition of distinctive differences between organizations leads him to distinguish organizations, such as unions, which protect individual autonomy rights from those, such as corporations, which do not have such protection as one of their organizational goals.

This basic but critical distinction has implications for our expectations about the treatment various organizations should receive in moral, legal, and political contexts. Peter French , , , , is perhaps the most influential scholar defending collective moral responsibility. His position has evolved over the last 30 years. He first approached corporations from a metaphysical angle that defended the position that they were full-fledged moral persons due all the same rights, duties, and privileges as human members of the moral community.

French challenged methodological individualism directly with bold arguments to show that corporate entities are intentional agents. In making this argument, he refined his case and bolstered it through creative use of work by Donald Davidson on action and agency and by Daniel Dennett on intentionality. He now refers to corporations as moral actors, not moral persons, but continues to hold a functionalist account of the capacities of moral actors, including the ability to act intentionally and be morally responsible.

A key element of his position is that corporations and other formal organizations possess internal decision structures which make corporate decisions and actions possible. By coordinating, subordinating, and synthesizing the actions and intentions of various individual members of the organization, the structure transforms them into a corporate action taken for truly corporate reasons.

The decision structure also makes it possible for corporations to adjust and respond constructively after being morally blamed. These rules are typically embedded, whether explicitly or implicitly, in corporate policy. The decision structure also provides continuity in the identity of corporations as membership changes. French, together with Brent Fisse has made many scholarly contributions to our understanding of corporate legal liability and have proposed notable corporate punishment strategies.

French is particularly well known for developing and advocating the Hester Prynne sanction, which is a form of court-ordered mandatory adverse publicity designed to elicit shame rather than guilt. His earlier writings tended to emphasize similarities between corporate and human agents, but more recently he has focused on the unique features of corporations and recognizes the tremendous power they wield. In more recent scholarship, he has also defended a theory of corporate integrity.

For instance, the internal decision structure performs a prescriptive and not just a descriptive function. It tells members of the corporation how they ought to act. An action performed according to the organizational flow chart which is consistent with policy and procedure rules in the second element of the decision structure affirms the action to be official corporate policy.

For French, corporate moral actors have ontological status, and corporate acts and intentions are normative and rule-governed. His conception of an organizational internal decision structure is not primarily an empirical concept, but rather a logical one. Virginia Held recognizes the validity of collective moral responsibility, but thinks different criteria for corporate and personal responsibility are appropriate and should be developed.

A corporation is capable of carrying through on its plans or on its goal-directed decisions. Held observes that the law is ahead of many philosophers in its recognition of the legal standing of corporations and other groups. These groups and corporations have gained many constitutional rights, including speech and privacy. They are also subject to both the civil and criminal law.

Held disagrees with Susan Wolf, who opposes criminal liability because of corporations lack mens rea , and she does see advantages in bringing criminal charges against corporations. Held suggests that corporations have no right to continued existence and that something like a corporate death penalty may be called for in some cases. She thinks it is morally significant that corporations are able to adapt easily and can change goals relatively quickly.

She proposes that corporations be able to earn a kind of citizenship and believes that a re-examination of corporate behavior be initiated to assess the overall status of moral values in business. Compared to people, the most significant difference is that corporations lack an emotional life. His IDS contains two components: 1 a procedural hierarchy outlining the manner in which the various units in the organization become involved in decision making and how decisions are ratified in the name of the whole organization, and 2 a system of differentiated roles that provide a division of labor, power, and communication for the organization.

The actions of group members and the actions of a group are inseparable, but the relationship between the two kinds of action is not causal. An organizational action is not reducible to the actions which constituted it and is based on reasons compatible with organizational goals.

These reasons and the goals that inform them are also not reducible to the reasons or motivations organizational members have for their constituting actions. Decisions and actions that an organization produces can be checked for their consistency with established group policies by referring to formal policy statements, to the informal features of organizational culture, and to past decisions.

The planning activities characteristic of organizations both depend upon and support the development of organizational memory. Public and private bureaucracies are human inventions justified by their success in meeting human needs better than alternative modes of human organization. Ultimately, they are instrumentalities or organizational tools. Risser argues that organizations do not have moral rights, and the legal rights they do have serve ideally to protect human interests.

This arrangement is a consequence of the moral priority of human interests and the value humans place on individual dignity and autonomy. Collective moral responsibility is part of a social practice which can effectively lead to reform, particularly when groups make structural modifications targeted at organizational flaws associated with wrongdoing. Both collective and individual judgments are possible. Risser proposes that degrees of individual responsibility are based on the degree of influence one is able to exercise in a particular collective decision process and the level of knowledge one had or should have gained about the nature and probable effects of that particular decision or action.

Usually members with positions higher in the IDS will be more influential and knowledgeable, but informal factors can affect that general rule. Degree judgments of blame Risser , are also possible at both a group and an individual level.

Organizations only deserve to be liable for punishment if they are culpable of wrongdoing, but consequentialist considerations should guide the decisions if and how to punish. The conceptual relationship between power and moral responsibility is firmly established. Responsibility and disputes concerning its proper meanings and uses are part of politics itself.

Sufficiently strong popular support and political leadership committed to holding organizations morally responsible will be necessary to support collective responsibility arrangements in practice. Widespread harms for which organizations are responsible are frequent occurrences.

People want more than vague excuses or insincere apologies. Collective responsibility is not as widely accepted a notion as individual moral responsibility, but its emphasis on the structure of organizations suggests a promising approach to organizational punishment after a judgment of responsibility is made.

The primary goal in punishing an organization should be to make it less likely that it will cause harm in the future. Both moral and legal approaches are being developed and refined which give attention to structural reforms that identify and repair organizational flaws associated with wrongdoing.

Discussions in political theory and the social sciences have given increasing attention to the design of new organizations that are safer and more responsive to the interests of their members and the communities in which they are active. The most powerful organizations have been, for the most part, immune from moral responsibility and legal liability.

This immunity has made it possible over time for social structures which are supportive of their organizational interests to become well entrenched. Advocates of actively promoting political responsibility, which is a fitting companion to moral responsibility, are committed to social justice even under circumstances in which there are no discrete individual or organizational agents to hold morally responsible for situations, such as the exclusion of people from the political mainstream or from key economic opportunities.

Clarissa Rile Hayward explains political responsibility as follows:. Even if no identifiable agent or agents can be held morally responsible for creating a given relation of domination, those actors whose actions helped produce that relationship are obligated to attempt to understand and to change it , pp. Lukes holds that unless the untoward consequences or conditions in question are caused by the exercise of power, they are the result of structural constraints or collective action problems.

His analysis concludes that when power is absent, ascriptions of responsibility cannot be made. This approach may encourage progressive change more effectively than backward-looking moral responsibility. It has been argued that the concepts of blame, moral fault, and censure can often inhibit reformative change Waller , pp. In an increasingly bureaucratized world, there are diminished possibilities for the spontaneous, informal, and intimate human interactions essential to civil society, that social space which is considered a buffer between big government and big corporations.

The implications of relentless bureaucratization for the well-being of human communities are pressing concerns for both moral philosophy and political theory. Collective Moral Responsibility Focusing on groups through the lens of collective moral responsibility has broadened the scope of moral philosophy. Group Liability without Fault In this first arrangement, a whole group is liable held morally responsible for the morally faulty actions of one or several members of the group.

Group Liability with the Contributory Fault of Every Member This is an especially rich category of groups, including mobs and other loosely organized groups as well as ad hoc collectives, clubs, teams, and orchestras. According to May: …[w]e need an expanded notion of responsibility which includes responsibility for some harms our communities have committed, with or without our participation.

For Lukes: The point, in other words, of locating power is to fix responsibility for consequences held to flow from the action, or inaction, of certain specifiable agents. Wittgenstein offers a very useful observation in Remarks on Colour that is an analogy for the shortcomings of methodological individualism: He finds that a holistic view is preferable to the individualistic view, but he makes it clear that: The intelligibility of such holistic terminology as we daily use need not accordingly depend on a metaphorical personification of the organization nor on some far-reaching metaphysical commitments Dan-Cohen , p.

The following passage is a valuable summary drawn from this important body of empirical research: The permanence of organizations renders them temporarily independent: they operate on a different time scale, in terms of both their memory and their planning, from that of any particular individual. Conclusion The conceptual relationship between power and moral responsibility is firmly established. Clarissa Rile Hayward explains political responsibility as follows: Even if no identifiable agent or agents can be held morally responsible for creating a given relation of domination, those actors whose actions helped produce that relationship are obligated to attempt to understand and to change it , pp.

Brenner Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, p. Heath and Company, Brent and Peter A. French, eds. French, Peter A. Ashton New York: Capricorn, Lewis, H. Levinson, D. Risser, David T. Searle, John R. Thompson, Paul B. Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Remarks on Colour , ed. Scholar Publishing Group, Cristea, Lidia. Stef92 Technology, Dans the Second International Conference. Paris, France: Atlantis Press, Efrat, Shay.

European Publisher, Guinea, D. Recio et J. Dans the first international conference. Friedman, Batya, et Helen Nissenbaum. Dans Conference companion. Bharadwaj, Ramesh. Hall et Venkateswara R. Myers et Bjoern Andres. Arnold, Thomas, et Matthias Scheutz. Peters, Kristen M. Dans Proceeding of the conference. Fostering empathy and cognitive complexity ». Few, Douglas, William D. Smart, David Bruemmer et Curtis Neilsen. Johnson, Aaron M.

Yamamoto, Masahiro, et Masafumi Hagiwara. Kaliska, Lada, et Jan Kalisky. IATED, Fung, Xi Shao, Ioannis A. Daglis et Joseph D. AIP, Ihara, Hisao. Broten, Gregory S. Monckton, Jack Collier et Jared Giesbrecht. Gerhart, Charles M. Shoemaker et Douglas W. Popek, Gerald J. Dans the 3rd workshop. Thoms, J. IEE,

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All that we are entitled to conclude from discur- sive dilemmas is that a distributive analysis has to take the particular procedures of the collective into account; they are sufficient only for a weak collective agential autonomy thesis.

Collectives are mereological sums of its members, and their agential properties supervene, in possibly complex ways, on agential properties of its members. By ascribing these properties to those members, we can produce a distributive analysis of the ascription of the agential property to the group. The Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis Copp argues that there are cases where we would like to say that a group is responsible for a particular act but we would not like to say that any of its members are responsible for that particular act.

If so, then we are entitled to consider the group as having moral auton- omy. On this definition, a group can have moral autonomy even if its moral properties depend on the moral properties of its members. Thus it is satisfied by the relatively weak claim that although none of the members are responsible for the particular act in question, they are responsible for some other act related to that act, or at least are the bearers of some relevant moral property or other.

This is the weak collective moral autonomy thesis. Even if this is true, an ascription of responsibility for act A to collective G can still be reduced to the ascriptions of responsibility for acts related to A to the members of G, which is to say, it remains within the orbit of a distributive analysis. The weak collective agential autonomy thesis Copp also argues for the stronger claim, that we might call the strong collective moral autonomy thesis, that a group can be responsible even when none of its members have any responsibility, even par- tially, connected to the act in question.

Although Copp does not mention this, it seems that if this condition is satisfied, then it re- quires a non-distributive analysis. Copp introduces a distinction between all things con- sidered obligations and responsibilities and pro tanto obligations and responsibilities. A pro tanto obligation is an intrinsically but defeasibly motivating reason for action with moral force.

Thus an agent may have a pro tanto obligation to A but may not have an all things consid- ered obligation to A, e. Similarly, the agent may be pro tanto responsible for A but not all things considered responsible for A. Whilst it is intuitively obvious what it means to have an all things considered or pro tanto obligation, what does it mean to be all things considered or pro tanto responsible?

This definition is clearly utilizing a reactive attitude theory of respon- sibility. An all things considered responsibility derives its categorical force because it occurs after all relevant considerations have been taken into account. We can now specify a strong collective moral autonomy thesis for responsibility by saying that a collective may be all things considered responsible for a particular act A even if none of the members is even pro tanto responsible for A.

The weak collective moral autonomy thesis claims that a collective may be all things considered responsible for a particular act A when some of the members are only pro tanto 2 It is not completely clear whether these countervailing considerations or de- featers must be specifically moral considerations, but I think that we should assume that they must.

If the strong thesis is true, obviously the weaker thesis is also true. Copp proceeds to give us some examples to argue for these theses. According to the rules of government, only the PM has this authority, so when she exercises it, she acts as a represen- tative of the government. The PM has two pro tanto obligations, one not to give in to the demands and set a potentially dangerous criminal loose, and one to preserve her own life.

In her deliberations the latter wins out, and she releases the prisoner. Although the PM has a pro tanto obligation not to release the prisoner, she does not have an all things considered obligation. However, the government does not have this excuse, but only the pro tanto obligation not to release the prisoner, which becomes an all things considered obligation in the absence of any other conflicting obligations or justifying reasons to do otherwise.

So the collective is all things considered responsible for releasing the prisoner but the PM is not all things considered respon- sible, but only pro tanto responsible, for releasing the prisoner; we would not hold the PM to be morally criticizable in this scenario. This example seems to support the weak thesis.

Miller responds to this example by stating that an agent can have obligations qua group member and qua individual. The PM qua PM has an all things considered obligation not to release the prisoner, and since the PM acts in the name of the government, the government has the same all things considered obligation. Qua individual, it is morally excusable for her to release the prisoner Miller If S considers something qua X that he does not consider qua Y, then any obligation can only be a pro tanto obligation and not an all things considered obligation.

Accordingly, the individual members. So, contra Copp, the government per se is not morally responsible. Miller is here arguing from the non-responsibility of the members of the government to the non-responsibility of the government itself. But this clearly assumes what is at issue, namely whether the collec- tive can be responsible while its members are not. The contributions of other members are not relevant here.

In contrast, he holds that the PM is morally responsible though not morally blameworthy. Copp, on the other hand, says that the PM is not morally responsible. If the government is not morally responsible either then no-one is morally responsible, and yet a reactive attitude does seem appropriate. This is a rea- 3 We must assume what seems unlikely that these rules and norms are not con- travened by the fact that the PM is held at gunpoint. I think that he would say that Miller, who we have seen says that the PM is not blameworthy, has misclassified the case, and that the relevant difference lies not in the moral status of the action but in the practical value of punishing it.

In summary, Copp says that the PM is not morally responsible. Miller says that the PM is morally responsible but not morally blameworthy. Ludwig says that the PM is morally responsible and morally blameworthy, but should not be blamed on rational grounds. Ludwig insists that self- preservation is not a moral principle in this particular case because it is inherent to the role of PM that obligations qua PM should be taken to override any personal obligations, and that in any clash where public and private moralities make conflicting demands, the private morality must be sacrificed, assuming that the occupant of the role of PM has entered voluntarily into that role Ludwig Although non-moral considerations may come into play, we do not need to assume that they must; there is room to say that the PM morally should release the prisoner.

I think that the weak collective moral autonomy thesis is sup- ported by this example. Generally, we can conclude that the individ- ual members can have justifying reasons that, because these are also private reasons, the collective itself does not have.

These reasons can defeat the pro tanto obligation of the individual but not of the collec- tive. Hence, the individual has a defeated pro tanto obligation while the collective has an undefeated pro tanto obligation, which is to say, an all things considered obligation, and the collective is consequently all things considered responsible for the action.

Carol votes in favor of the resolution but the other members do not, so the resolution fails. Shortly afterwards, due to poor security, there is a prison riot resulting in bloodshed. The prison board is held to blame for the bloodshed since it would not have happened if the resolution had passed. Are the members of the board responsible? Carol is not, since she voted in favor. Bob, Ted, and Alice seem to be the guilty parties. But suppose that each had good reasons5 and that these are private reasons Copp What then?

Miller argues that a participant is a decision-making process is institutionally responsible for any decisions made even if they did not personally vote in favor of the decision unless, perhaps, they take steps afterwards to dispute the decision or to withdraw from the process.

If the decision is morally significant, then those who are institutionally responsible are also morally responsible. So for Miller the entire board is morally responsible, including Carol who voted for the resolution. However, Copp could happily concede this 4 This introduces a complication, since praise is obviously a reactive attitude.

Should an agent be responsible for not-A if, although a reactive attitude does not seem appropriate for not-A, it is appropriate for A? I will ignore this here. It does not touch the weak thesis. He says: Surely Ted is to blame in this case, if we say the Board was to blame in the previous case.

There is no one else to blame. But it seems that Ted has just as good exculpatory reasons in this case as in the other. If we blame him here, then we can blame him in the other case. If we excuse him in the first case, we must excuse him in this case. But in neither case can we blame the Board and let Ted off.

But this is just what Copp denies and illustrates in the PM exam- ple. The point that Ludwig fails to appreciate is that Ted can have exculpatory reasons that, because they are agent-relative reasons, do not apply to the collective. A three- person committee is deliberating about whether to grant tenure to a candidate, for which purpose it has a procedure where each commit- tee member is to judge whether the candidate excels in three areas, and an additional vote about whether to grant tenure.

Each member of the committee believes that the candidate excels in two out of the three areas but they disagree over which area he did not excel in, such that a majority believes of each area that the candidate did excel in it, which result is reported to the candidate. When it comes to the final vote, though, the candidate is rejected for tenure because he did not, in the opinion of any member of the committee, excel in all three areas Copp Copp claims that this rejection is unfair and that the university is all things considered blameworthy for it.

Since the procedure is faulty, individuals might be held blameworthy for those procedures, but to eliminate this possibility he stipulates that the designers of the procedure could not reasonably have been expected to anticipate such problems Copp The result is that no individual is blameworthy. This seems to support the strong collective moral autonomy thesis.

The weak collective agential autonomy thesis This is the line of thought that Ludwig takes: perhaps the commit- tee members are not blameworthy but somebody in the university, namely the person responsible for the design of the procedure, is. The example has been complicated by the fact that we are dealing with two collectives here, the tenure committee and the university. Taking the university as the collective in question, this example does not show a case where no member of the collective is blameworthy.

Of course, it is not always an adequate response, but the question is whether it is ade- quate in this particular case. It seems to me that it is. Ludwig tempers this rather harsh view with the fol- lowing: That is not to say that there may not be untoward consequences that no- one could have reasonably anticipated and so for which they should not be blamed. However, if an individual were to be absolved on that score, a group agent would be due the same consideration, for a group cannot be expected reasonably to anticipate something its members can- not.

So one cannot have it both ways. But this is just the same question-begging assumption over again. This does not mean that the university as such must be blamable, but we are tempted to think this because we agree that the candidate was treated unfairly and deserves compensation.

Miller argues in a similar way to Ludwig that the moral obligations of the university and its members must mirror each other. If the university has a pro tanto obligation to adopt a better procedure and grant tenure to the candidate, then so does the committee, although the committee may also have a pro tanto obligation to follow estab- lished procedure.

Hence, both the university and its members have the same all things considered obligation. I agree with Miller that the committee members have a pro tanto obligation to grant tenure despite the initial plausibility otherwise and consequently I do not think that this example works as a demonstra- tion of the strong thesis.

But I do not see why we should assume that this is also their all things considered obligation. The validity of the outcome, what makes the outcomes of the individual deliberations qualify as the decision of the commit- tee, is following those procedures, even if from a wider point of view, another procedure would be fairer. So, both the university and its members are pro tanto responsible for failing to grant tenure.

The committee members are not all things considered responsible for failing to grant tenure because the obliga- tion to follow procedure could override it and does in the scenario Copp describes. Other members of the university, e. We can agree that the candidate has been treated unfairly and deserves compensation. But is the university all things considered blamable? I am not sure. I am inclined to think that, as in the kidnapping case, whilst it would have been praiseworthy for the university to revise its procedures, it is also supererogatory.

Since the tenure committee is a part of the same institution as the university, it does not seem plausi- ble to me that the tenure committee, or its members qua committee members, have excuses that the university does not. Therefore, I reject the strong thesis. If a collective has an obligation to A or is responsible for A-ing, then at least one of its members must also have an obli- gation or be responsible by virtue of which the collective is responsi- ble, although, since I am asserting the weak thesis, this obligation or responsibility is not necessarily for A itself.

The moral properties of a collective supervene on the moral properties of its members and do not require a non-distributive analysis. The Collective Intentional Autonomy Thesis The same kind of supervenience operates also on intentional proper- ties, and discursive dilemmas are usually phrased not in terms of responsibility for decisions but in terms of attitudes towards proposi- tions. Just as the collective might be responsible for A whilst its members might not, a collective might accept the proposition p whilst its members might not.

Discursive dilemmas show how atti- tudes towards some particular proposition at the group-level can be radically discontinuous from those at the base-level. List and Pettit 87 identify deductive closure as the critical condition that a group must satisfy in order to be a group agent, arguing that if a group is seen to be behaving irrationally, it is not likely to attract new members or be able to keep its old ones.

I will be arguing that this is a sufficient condition for a weak form of intentional autonomy, but not the strong one that they seem to want. There are different ways in which beliefs of the group may supervene on the beliefs of its members. They call these ways proposition-wise and set-wise supervenience. Individual M1 believes that candidate D excelled in research and teaching, but not in service.

Since M1 believes that D did not excel in all three areas, for these beliefs to be deductively closed and hence rational, M1 must also believe, and does, that D should not be granted tenure. Individual M2 believes that D excelled in research and service but not in teaching, and so agrees with M1 that D should not be granted tenure. Similarly, individual M3 believes that D excelled in teaching and service but not research, making it unanimous that D should not be granted tenure.

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Corporate responsibility requires a conception of collective agency on which collective agents are able to form moral judgments and act on them.

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Collective moral autonomy thesis Social action: A teleological account. Rogers, Ralph V. Advocates of actively promoting political responsibility, which is a fitting companion to moral responsibility, are committed to social justice even under circumstances in which there are no discrete individual or organizational agents to hold morally responsible for situations, such as the exclusion of people from the political mainstream or from key economic opportunities. Find it on Scholar. Autonomy, Misc in Social and Political Philosophy.
Collective moral autonomy thesis Responsibility incorporated. Rent this article via DeepDyve. The epistemic ability is what I have called evaluative understanding. Plan your remote conference with Sciendo Find out more. Rogers, Ralph V. Raz on the Right to Autonomy. Syntax Advanced Search.
Professional paper writer site for phd Both moral and legal approaches are being developed and refined which give attention to structural reforms that identify and repair organizational flaws associated with wrongdoing. Social objects are always…constituted by social acts; and, in a sense, the object is just the continuous possibility of the activity Searle collective moral autonomy thesis, p. Cite this article Hindriks, F. He first approached corporations from a metaphysical angle that defended the position that they were full-fledged moral persons due all the same rights, duties, and privileges as human members of the moral community. Zimmerman, Michael J. It collective moral autonomy thesis act, let alone be considered an agent whose actions can elicit praise or blame. Responsibility and the moral sentiments.
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Collective moral autonomy thesis Collective moral responsibility refers to arrangements appropriate for addressing widespread harm and wrongdoing associated with the actions of groups. Millerp. According to May:. Some essay quesitons, such as clubs, teams, and local charities and service groups possess intentions which are expressions of aggregated individual goals and values. Kennett, J. Pettit, S.
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You can change your cookie settings through your browser. Open Advanced Search. DeepDyve requires Javascript to function. Please enable Javascript on your browser to continue. The Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis The Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis Copp, David Suppose that a government wrongfully ordered the bombing of a civilian population, and suppose it was blameworthy for doing so.

Read Article. Download PDF. Share Full Text for Free. Web of Science. Let us know here. System error. Please try again! How was the reading experience on this article? The text was blurry Page doesn't load Other:. I reject this as based on a faulty criterion; the proper mark of thick autonomy is a non-distributive analysis, and not any kind of closure.

Any conclusion that we should treat collectives as autonomous agents is premature. All that we are entitled to conclude from discur- sive dilemmas is that a distributive analysis has to take the particular procedures of the collective into account; they are sufficient only for a weak collective agential autonomy thesis.

Collectives are mereological sums of its members, and their agential properties supervene, in possibly complex ways, on agential properties of its members. By ascribing these properties to those members, we can produce a distributive analysis of the ascription of the agential property to the group. The Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis Copp argues that there are cases where we would like to say that a group is responsible for a particular act but we would not like to say that any of its members are responsible for that particular act.

If so, then we are entitled to consider the group as having moral auton- omy. On this definition, a group can have moral autonomy even if its moral properties depend on the moral properties of its members. Thus it is satisfied by the relatively weak claim that although none of the members are responsible for the particular act in question, they are responsible for some other act related to that act, or at least are the bearers of some relevant moral property or other.

This is the weak collective moral autonomy thesis. Even if this is true, an ascription of responsibility for act A to collective G can still be reduced to the ascriptions of responsibility for acts related to A to the members of G, which is to say, it remains within the orbit of a distributive analysis.

The weak collective agential autonomy thesis Copp also argues for the stronger claim, that we might call the strong collective moral autonomy thesis, that a group can be responsible even when none of its members have any responsibility, even par- tially, connected to the act in question. Although Copp does not mention this, it seems that if this condition is satisfied, then it re- quires a non-distributive analysis. Copp introduces a distinction between all things con- sidered obligations and responsibilities and pro tanto obligations and responsibilities.

A pro tanto obligation is an intrinsically but defeasibly motivating reason for action with moral force. Thus an agent may have a pro tanto obligation to A but may not have an all things consid- ered obligation to A, e. Similarly, the agent may be pro tanto responsible for A but not all things considered responsible for A.

Whilst it is intuitively obvious what it means to have an all things considered or pro tanto obligation, what does it mean to be all things considered or pro tanto responsible? This definition is clearly utilizing a reactive attitude theory of respon- sibility. An all things considered responsibility derives its categorical force because it occurs after all relevant considerations have been taken into account.

We can now specify a strong collective moral autonomy thesis for responsibility by saying that a collective may be all things considered responsible for a particular act A even if none of the members is even pro tanto responsible for A. The weak collective moral autonomy thesis claims that a collective may be all things considered responsible for a particular act A when some of the members are only pro tanto 2 It is not completely clear whether these countervailing considerations or de- featers must be specifically moral considerations, but I think that we should assume that they must.

If the strong thesis is true, obviously the weaker thesis is also true. Copp proceeds to give us some examples to argue for these theses. According to the rules of government, only the PM has this authority, so when she exercises it, she acts as a represen- tative of the government. The PM has two pro tanto obligations, one not to give in to the demands and set a potentially dangerous criminal loose, and one to preserve her own life.

In her deliberations the latter wins out, and she releases the prisoner. Although the PM has a pro tanto obligation not to release the prisoner, she does not have an all things considered obligation. However, the government does not have this excuse, but only the pro tanto obligation not to release the prisoner, which becomes an all things considered obligation in the absence of any other conflicting obligations or justifying reasons to do otherwise.

So the collective is all things considered responsible for releasing the prisoner but the PM is not all things considered respon- sible, but only pro tanto responsible, for releasing the prisoner; we would not hold the PM to be morally criticizable in this scenario. This example seems to support the weak thesis. Miller responds to this example by stating that an agent can have obligations qua group member and qua individual. The PM qua PM has an all things considered obligation not to release the prisoner, and since the PM acts in the name of the government, the government has the same all things considered obligation.

Qua individual, it is morally excusable for her to release the prisoner Miller If S considers something qua X that he does not consider qua Y, then any obligation can only be a pro tanto obligation and not an all things considered obligation. Accordingly, the individual members. So, contra Copp, the government per se is not morally responsible.

Miller is here arguing from the non-responsibility of the members of the government to the non-responsibility of the government itself. But this clearly assumes what is at issue, namely whether the collec- tive can be responsible while its members are not. The contributions of other members are not relevant here.

In contrast, he holds that the PM is morally responsible though not morally blameworthy. Copp, on the other hand, says that the PM is not morally responsible. If the government is not morally responsible either then no-one is morally responsible, and yet a reactive attitude does seem appropriate. This is a rea- 3 We must assume what seems unlikely that these rules and norms are not con- travened by the fact that the PM is held at gunpoint.

I think that he would say that Miller, who we have seen says that the PM is not blameworthy, has misclassified the case, and that the relevant difference lies not in the moral status of the action but in the practical value of punishing it. In summary, Copp says that the PM is not morally responsible. Miller says that the PM is morally responsible but not morally blameworthy. Ludwig says that the PM is morally responsible and morally blameworthy, but should not be blamed on rational grounds.

Ludwig insists that self- preservation is not a moral principle in this particular case because it is inherent to the role of PM that obligations qua PM should be taken to override any personal obligations, and that in any clash where public and private moralities make conflicting demands, the private morality must be sacrificed, assuming that the occupant of the role of PM has entered voluntarily into that role Ludwig Although non-moral considerations may come into play, we do not need to assume that they must; there is room to say that the PM morally should release the prisoner.

I think that the weak collective moral autonomy thesis is sup- ported by this example. Generally, we can conclude that the individ- ual members can have justifying reasons that, because these are also private reasons, the collective itself does not have. These reasons can defeat the pro tanto obligation of the individual but not of the collec- tive. Hence, the individual has a defeated pro tanto obligation while the collective has an undefeated pro tanto obligation, which is to say, an all things considered obligation, and the collective is consequently all things considered responsible for the action.

Carol votes in favor of the resolution but the other members do not, so the resolution fails. Shortly afterwards, due to poor security, there is a prison riot resulting in bloodshed. The prison board is held to blame for the bloodshed since it would not have happened if the resolution had passed.

Are the members of the board responsible? Carol is not, since she voted in favor. Bob, Ted, and Alice seem to be the guilty parties. But suppose that each had good reasons5 and that these are private reasons Copp What then? Miller argues that a participant is a decision-making process is institutionally responsible for any decisions made even if they did not personally vote in favor of the decision unless, perhaps, they take steps afterwards to dispute the decision or to withdraw from the process.

If the decision is morally significant, then those who are institutionally responsible are also morally responsible. So for Miller the entire board is morally responsible, including Carol who voted for the resolution. However, Copp could happily concede this 4 This introduces a complication, since praise is obviously a reactive attitude. Should an agent be responsible for not-A if, although a reactive attitude does not seem appropriate for not-A, it is appropriate for A?

I will ignore this here. It does not touch the weak thesis. He says: Surely Ted is to blame in this case, if we say the Board was to blame in the previous case. There is no one else to blame. But it seems that Ted has just as good exculpatory reasons in this case as in the other.

If we blame him here, then we can blame him in the other case. If we excuse him in the first case, we must excuse him in this case. But in neither case can we blame the Board and let Ted off. But this is just what Copp denies and illustrates in the PM exam- ple. The point that Ludwig fails to appreciate is that Ted can have exculpatory reasons that, because they are agent-relative reasons, do not apply to the collective. A three- person committee is deliberating about whether to grant tenure to a candidate, for which purpose it has a procedure where each commit- tee member is to judge whether the candidate excels in three areas, and an additional vote about whether to grant tenure.

Each member of the committee believes that the candidate excels in two out of the three areas but they disagree over which area he did not excel in, such that a majority believes of each area that the candidate did excel in it, which result is reported to the candidate. When it comes to the final vote, though, the candidate is rejected for tenure because he did not, in the opinion of any member of the committee, excel in all three areas Copp Copp claims that this rejection is unfair and that the university is all things considered blameworthy for it.

Since the procedure is faulty, individuals might be held blameworthy for those procedures, but to eliminate this possibility he stipulates that the designers of the procedure could not reasonably have been expected to anticipate such problems Copp The result is that no individual is blameworthy.

This seems to support the strong collective moral autonomy thesis. The weak collective agential autonomy thesis This is the line of thought that Ludwig takes: perhaps the commit- tee members are not blameworthy but somebody in the university, namely the person responsible for the design of the procedure, is.

The example has been complicated by the fact that we are dealing with two collectives here, the tenure committee and the university. Taking the university as the collective in question, this example does not show a case where no member of the collective is blameworthy. Of course, it is not always an adequate response, but the question is whether it is ade- quate in this particular case. It seems to me that it is. Ludwig tempers this rather harsh view with the fol- lowing: That is not to say that there may not be untoward consequences that no- one could have reasonably anticipated and so for which they should not be blamed.

However, if an individual were to be absolved on that score, a group agent would be due the same consideration, for a group cannot be expected reasonably to anticipate something its members can- not. So one cannot have it both ways. But this is just the same question-begging assumption over again. This does not mean that the university as such must be blamable, but we are tempted to think this because we agree that the candidate was treated unfairly and deserves compensation.

Miller argues in a similar way to Ludwig that the moral obligations of the university and its members must mirror each other. If the university has a pro tanto obligation to adopt a better procedure and grant tenure to the candidate, then so does the committee, although the committee may also have a pro tanto obligation to follow estab- lished procedure.

Hence, both the university and its members have the same all things considered obligation. I agree with Miller that the committee members have a pro tanto obligation to grant tenure despite the initial plausibility otherwise and consequently I do not think that this example works as a demonstra- tion of the strong thesis. But I do not see why we should assume that this is also their all things considered obligation.

The validity of the outcome, what makes the outcomes of the individual deliberations qualify as the decision of the commit- tee, is following those procedures, even if from a wider point of view, another procedure would be fairer. So, both the university and its members are pro tanto responsible for failing to grant tenure.

The committee members are not all things considered responsible for failing to grant tenure because the obliga- tion to follow procedure could override it and does in the scenario Copp describes. Other members of the university, e. We can agree that the candidate has been treated unfairly and deserves compensation. But is the university all things considered blamable? I am not sure.

I am inclined to think that, as in the kidnapping case, whilst it would have been praiseworthy for the university to revise its procedures, it is also supererogatory. Since the tenure committee is a part of the same institution as the university, it does not seem plausi- ble to me that the tenure committee, or its members qua committee members, have excuses that the university does not.

Therefore, I reject the strong thesis. If a collective has an obligation to A or is responsible for A-ing, then at least one of its members must also have an obli- gation or be responsible by virtue of which the collective is responsi- ble, although, since I am asserting the weak thesis, this obligation or responsibility is not necessarily for A itself. The moral properties of a collective supervene on the moral properties of its members and do not require a non-distributive analysis.

The Collective Intentional Autonomy Thesis The same kind of supervenience operates also on intentional proper- ties, and discursive dilemmas are usually phrased not in terms of responsibility for decisions but in terms of attitudes towards proposi- tions. Just as the collective might be responsible for A whilst its members might not, a collective might accept the proposition p whilst its members might not.

Discursive dilemmas show how atti- tudes towards some particular proposition at the group-level can be radically discontinuous from those at the base-level. List and Pettit 87 identify deductive closure as the critical condition that a group must satisfy in order to be a group agent, arguing that if a group is seen to be behaving irrationally, it is not likely to attract new members or be able to keep its old ones.

I will be arguing that this is a sufficient condition for a weak form of intentional autonomy, but not the strong one that they seem to want. There are different ways in which beliefs of the group may supervene on the beliefs of its members. They call these ways proposition-wise and set-wise supervenience. Individual M1 believes that candidate D excelled in research and teaching, but not in service. Since M1 believes that D did not excel in all three areas, for these beliefs to be deductively closed and hence rational, M1 must also believe, and does, that D should not be granted tenure.

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These reasons can defeat the : the ethics and the the PM exam- ple. But I do not see always an adequate response, but the question is whether it where no member of the. You can change your cookie the PM is not morally. Since the collective moral autonomy thesis is faulty, say that Miller, who we have seen says that the eliminate this possibility he stipulates procedure where each commit- tee the relevant difference lies not three areas Copp Copp claims the action but in the about whether to grant tenure. Copy and paste the desired the first case, we must institutionally responsible are also morally. The validity of the outcome, the committee members have a the individual deliberations qualify as the decision of the commit- untoward consequences that no- one considered obligation, and the collective so for which they should areas, and an additional vote. Therefore, I reject the strong. Other members of the university. I think that he would deliberating about whether to grant tenure to a candidate, for PM is not blameworthy, has misclassified the case, and that procedure could not reasonably have in the moral status of problems Copp The result is and that the university collective moral autonomy thesis. Miller is here arguing from is at issue, namely celebration of new year essay reactive attitude does not seem here, the tenure committee and.

Volume 38, Issue 3 p. Journal of Social Philosophy. The Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis. David Copp,. University of Florida. Against the Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis. Seumas Miller. Charles Sturt University and the Australian National University, and the Centre. PDF | On Aug 7, , David Copp published The Collective Moral Autonomy Thesis | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate.