1st Edition

What Responsibility? Whose Responsibility? Intention, Agency, and Emotions of Collective Entities

By Bhaskarjit Neog Copyright 2024
    170 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book is an enquiry into the meaning and nature of collective responsibility. It analyses the moral culpability of collective entities implicated in some of the most pressing contemporary ethical issues, including institutional injustice, corporate scams, organized crimes, gang wars, genocide, xenophobia, and other group-based violence. It asks: Who is responsible when a collective is (held) responsible? Is collective responsibility merely a façon de parler, a rhetorical way of talking about individual moral responsibility, or is it more than that? Using some of the latest resources from the philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, and social ontology, the author develops a nuanced non-individualist position with the help of a concept of collective agency. He interprets collective responsibility as the responsibility of a collective without either reducing it to the responsibility of the individual members or making it a case where their moral positions become blurred.

    An important intervention in moral philosophy, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of moral philosophy, philosophy of action and mind, philosophy of social sciences, and political philosophy. It will also be a theoretical resource for legal theorists, just war theorists, game theorists, business ethicists, and policy makers.

    1. Packing and Unpacking of Responsibility 2. Responsibility Collectivized  3. Intentional Make-up of Collectives  4. Collectives with Agency of Their Own 5. Feeling Guilty as a Collective: An Emotional Profile


    Bhaskarjit Neog teaches at the Centre of Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He was educated at IIT Kanpur, Utrecht University (the Netherlands), Linkoping University (Sweden), and Gauhati University (India). His primary research interests are in ethics, social ontology, moral and political philosophy, and philosophy of religion. He has been an Endeavour Research fellow at the Australian National University and Charles Sturt University Australia, and a Visiting Resident scholar at the Centre for Human Values at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM Calcutta).

    "This book offers an engaging and enlightening discussion of corporate or collective responsibility. Accessible and elegant, it offers a valuable perspective on the many issues it addresses".

    Philip Pettit, L. S. Rockefeller University Professor of Human Values, Princeton University; Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University

    "What Responsibility? Whose Responsibility? is an important new contribution to the literature on collective responsibility. Neog deftly avoids the many pitfalls and temptations that we find in much philosophical writing about the topic. He recognizes the full variety of phenomena that we regard as falling under it, along with their varying moral significance. He neither assimilates one kind to another, nor any of them to the paradigm case of individual agency. Most importantly of all, he reminds us that individuals are socially formed, and so it is crucial to avoid an overly individualistic interpretation of the paradigm case."

    Carol Rovane, Violin Family Professor of Philosophy, Chair Contemporary Civilization, Columbia University

    A compelling argument that we need a coherent notion of collective agency in order to account for the collective responsibility of groups. Neog carefully articulates a non-individualist conception of collective agency that does justice to the phenomenon in a way that individualism cannot, but which avoids the more extravagant commitments of collectivist accounts. The quasi-collectivist account offered here is a convincing and valuable contribution to the literature on collective agency.

    Jeremy Randel Koons, Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University- Qatar