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    Moral responsibility in Thomas Pogge's cosmopolitan imperative

    Bascara, Rachelle Dyanne (2014) Moral responsibility in Thomas Pogge's cosmopolitan imperative. MPhil thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Pogge claims that affluent nations and their citizens are collectively morally responsible for severe global poverty. In the absence of collaboration between the agents deemed collectively responsible, how do we justify the ascription of collective responsibility? I begin by showing how Rawls’ theory of justice incited Pogge to construct a global justice theory. I discuss how Pogge arrives at the thesis that the global order is unjust, according to various – yet related – conceptions of justice. I then outline the implicated agents in his theory. Using John Searle’s theory of collective intentionality, I demonstrate how collective responsibility can be ascribed in the absence of collective agency or collaboration. Agents who are part of a collective that harms are only deemed responsible for their contributions, where the requirements of moral responsibility are satisfied when an agent foreseeably causes avoidable harm. I then distinguish between two kinds of collective responsibility, namely, collective responsibility in the absence of collective agency and collective responsibility of collective agents. Invoking the work of collective agency theorists, I argue that it is possible to ascribe Pogge’s broadly Kantian conception of moral responsibility to collective agents. Finally, I claim that the ascription of merit-based moral responsibility to ordinary individuals is unjustified, on the grounds that they have no accessible alternative courses of action. I nevertheless argue that, on a roughly consequentialist construal of moral responsibility, we should be able to hold people to a higher standard than the status quo, for this would enable moral progress.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2015 16:19
    Last Modified: 19 Jun 2021 09:21


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