In Euzebiusz Jamrozik & Michael Selgelid (eds.), Ethics and Drug Resistance: Collective Responsibility for Global Public Health. Springer. pp. 379-389 (2020)

Anne Schwenkenbecher
Murdoch University
This chapter explores the question of whether or not individual agents are under a moral obligation to reduce their ‘antimicrobial footprint’. An agent’s antimicrobial footprint measures the extent to which her actions are causally linked to the use of antibiotics. As such, it is not necessarily a measure of her contribution to antimicrobial resistance. Talking about people’s antimicrobial footprint in a way we talk about our carbon footprint may be helpful for drawing attention to the global effects of individual behaviour and for highlighting that our choices can collectively make a real difference. But can we be morally obligated to make a contribution to resolving a collective action problem when our individual contributions by themselves make no discernible difference? I will focus on two lines of argument in favour of such obligations: whether a failure to reduce one’s antimicrobial footprint is unfair and whether it constitutes wrongdoing because it is harmful. I conclude by suggesting that the argument from collective harm is ultimately more successful.
Keywords public health ethics  collective harm  antimicrobial resistance  public goods  antimicrobial footprint  collective action  consumer ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Climate Change, Individual Emissions, and Foreseeing Harm.Chad Vance - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (5):562-584.
Is There an Obligation to Reduce One’s Individual Carbon Footprint?Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (2):168-188.
Collective Action and Individual Choice.Jonny Anomaly - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (4):752-756.
From Individual to Collective Responsibility: There and Back Again.Kirk Ludwig - 2020 - In Saba Bazargan Forward & Deborah Perron Tollefsen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Responsibility. New York: pp. 78-93.
Ethics, Science, and Antimicrobial Resistance.Bernard Rollin - 2001 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 14 (1):29-37.


Added to PP index

Total views
183 ( #62,981 of 2,497,975 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #50,842 of 2,497,975 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes