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Haan, N. de

Department of Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Collectivization Duties in Global Ethics

In this article I argue that an adequate answer as to which collective duties and corresponding duty-bearers there are with regard to the moral problems in global ethics should feature collectivization duties. An important part of this question is identifying the corresponding duty-bearers, since otherwise we would not know who are collectively responsible for addressing the issues at hand. However, it could be that for some problems there are no corresponding duty-bearers because there are no collective agents capable of addressing these issues. Wringe argued that in the absence of capable collective agents, humanity as a whole can have a global collective obligation to address large-scale injustices in the world. However, such an unstructured global collective is incapable of joint action. Collectivization duties in global ethics result in structured collectives with collective duties that are capable of joint action, unlike large unstructured collectives comprised of individuals. Collectivization duties are duties to take responsive steps towards the formation of a collective that can address a morally pressing matter that requires collective action. Both individuals and organizations potentially hold collectivization duties, although the focus is on the latter. I argue that organizations can hold collectivization duties not just with regard to new moral problems, but equally if they are already discharging a duty, but collectivizing allows them to increase their combined efficiency and effectiveness. Collectivization duties are, thus, applicable to a wide variety of cases. Moreover, collectivization duties enable us to deal with non-compliance very effectively. Collectivization duties should, therefore, play a pivotal role in global ethics.

Last modified:30 August 2016 2.43 p.m.