Collectivity: Ontology, Ethics, and Social Justice brings new voices and new approaches to under-developed areas in the philosophical literature on collectives and collective action. The essays in this volume introduce and explore a range of topics that fall under the more general concept of collectivity, including collective ontology, collective action, collective obligation, and collective responsibility. A number of the chapters link collectivity directly to significant issues of social justice.
The volume addresses a variety of questions including the ontology and taxonomy of social groups and other collective entities, ethical frameworks for understanding the nature and extent of individual and collective moral obligations, and applications of these conceptual explorations to oppressive social practices like mass incarceration, climate change, and global poverty. The essays draw on a variety of approaches and disciplines, including feminist and continental approaches and work in legal theory and geography, as well as more traditional philosophical contributions.
Introduction, Kendy Hess, Violetta Igneski, and Tracy Isaacs
Part One: Ontology
Chapter 1: Social Creationism and Social Groups, Katherine Ritchie
Chapter 2: The Peculiar Unity of Corporate Agents, Kendy Hess
Chapter 3: Can There Be an Ethics for Institutional Agents? Sean Cordell
Chapter 4: At Cross Purposes: The Responsible Subject, Organizational Reality and the Criminal Law, Jennifer Quaid
Part Two: Ethics
Chapter 5: Making Sense of Collective Moral Obligations: A Comparison of Existing Approaches, Anne Schwenkenbecher
Chapter 6: Individual Duties in Unstructured Collective Contexts, Violetta Igneski
Chapter 7: Global Obligations and the Human Right to Health, Bill Wringe
Chapter 8: When Are Collective Obligations Too Demanding? Felix Pinkert
Chapter 9: Who Does Wrong When an Organization Does Wrong? Stephanie Collins
Part Three: Social Justice
Chapter 10: What Would a Feminist Theory of Collective Action and Responsibility Look Like? Tracy Isaacs
Chapter 11: Identities of Oppression: Collective Intentionality’s Seriality Problem, Eric Chelstrom
Chapter 12: Resisting Oppression Together: Participatory Intentions and Unequal Agents, Christina Friedlaender
Chapter 13: Geographically Gated Communities: Collective Participation, Marginalization, and the Importance of Shared Values, Sarah Roe and Elyse Zavar
Hess, Igneski, and Isaacs have assembled an exceptional collection of new papers exploring the issues of ontology, ethics and social justice with respect to collectives. Many of the chapters advance and deepen prior analyses of the way collective entities should be considered from the point of view of moral responsibility, practically and theoretically. Collectivity makes provocative moves in the direction of aligning moral assessment and ontological considerations with the real world of corporations, organizations, groups, nations, and other collectives that control much of the social, political, and economic events that shape our lives for good or ill.
This is a very fine collection of essays by a group of prominent scholars who together both deepen our philosophical understanding of collective responsibility and open our eyes to the importance of taking oppression, group identity, and social justice seriously in ascribing of it.
Tracy Isaacs is Professor of Philosophy, Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts (2011) and co-editor, with Richard Vernon, of Accountability for Collective Wrongdoing (2011).
Kendy M. Hess is the Brake Smith Associate Professor of Social Philosophy and Ethics at the College of the Holy Cross.
Violetta Igneski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University.