Dr. Bhaskarjit Neog (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India): "In Calling Out the Collective"
Monday, 29 August, 14:00
Room Alpha (05005), Building G
Who is responsible when a group or collective is responsible? Although collective wrongdoings are ultimately the products of the actions performed by individuals, it seems quite appropriate to first talk about the moral responsibility of the whole collective in which they are parts. But a collective or group taken as one entity, unlike its constituent individuals, obviously does not have any clear responsibility-bearing make-ups. So how do we then make sense of our intuitively appealing and morally meaningful claims about the responsibility of collective entities? The existing literature is divided into two broad camps—one subscribes to a collectivist or realist position, and the other individualist position. Over the years, these two positions have become increasingly so exclusionary that they often find themselves in an atmosphere of talking past each other—so much so that one wonders whether they are climbing on two different sides of the same mountain or climbing two different mountains. In this work, departing from these dominant trends, I propose an ecumenical account that takes a reconciliatory path in interpreting collective moral responsibility essentially as the collective’s responsibility, without either reifying the concept of group or collective, or solidifying the responsibility of individuals with specific forms and contents.