In Kendy Hess, Violetta Igneski & Tracy Isaacs (eds.), Collectivity: Ontology, Ethics, and Social Justice. London: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 109-132 (2018)

Anne Schwenkenbecher
Murdoch University
We can often achieve together what we could not have achieved on our own. Many times these outcomes and actions will be morally valuable; sometimes they may be of substantial moral value. However, when can we be under an obligation to perform some morally valuable action together with others, or to jointly produce a morally significant outcome? Can there be collective moral obligations, and if so, under what circumstances do we acquire them? These are questions to which philosophers are increasingly turning their attention. It is fair to say that traditional ethical theories cannot give a satisfying answer to the questions, focusing as they do on the actions and attitudes of discreet individual agents. It should also be noted that the debate surrounding collective moral obligations is ongoing and by no means settled. This chapter discusses and compares the different attempts to date to answer the above questions. It proposes a set of meta-criteria—or desiderata— for arbitrating between the various proposals.
Keywords collective obligations  collective action  moral obligations  collective responsibility  moral theory
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

Kollektive Verantwortung und Armut.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2021 - In Gottfried Schweiger & Clemens Sedmak (eds.), Handbuch Philosophie Und Armut. J.B. Metzler. pp. 326-332.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Obligations of States.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2011 - In Applied Ethics Series. Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University. pp. 86-93.
Essentially Shared Obligations.Gunnar Björnsson - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):103-120.
What We Together Can (Be Required to) Do.Felix Pinkert - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):187-202.
Applied Ethics Series.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2011 - Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University.
Collective Action Problems and Conflicting Obligations.Brian Talbot - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2239-2261.
From Global Collective Obligations to Institutional Obligations.Bill Wringe - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):171-186.
Distributive Justice and Distributed Obligations.A. Edmundson William - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (1):1-19.
Distributive Justice and Distributed Obligations.A. Edmundson William - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of Moral Philosophy.
Distributing Collective Obligation.Sean Aas - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (3):1-23.


Added to PP index

Total views
291 ( #33,830 of 2,463,158 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
30 ( #28,489 of 2,463,158 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes