Kantian Group Agency

Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):917-927 (2019)

Abstract

Although much work has been done on Kant’s theory of moral agency, little explored is the possibility of a Kantian account of the moral agency of groups or collectives that comprise individual human beings. The aim of this paper is to offer a Kantian account of collective moral agency that can explain how organized collectives can perform moral actions and be held morally responsible for their actions. Drawing on Kant’s view that agents act by incorporating an incentive into their maxims, it is argued that groups of agents can engage in practical deliberation in much the same way individual agents can, resulting in the formulation of a distinctive “group maxim” for which the group, as such, can be morally responsible.

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