Social Policy

Can Institutions Have Responsibilities?: Collective Moral by Toni Erskine

By Toni Erskine

Can associations (in the experience of formal companies) endure tasks and be ascribed blame within the related means that we comprehend person humans to be morally accountable for activities? the belief of the "institutional ethical agent" is seriously tested within the guise of states, transnational companies, the UN, NATO and overseas society within the context of a few of the main serious and debated matters and occasions in diplomacy, together with the Kosovo crusade, improvement reduction, and genocide in Rwanda.

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Extra info for Can Institutions Have Responsibilities?: Collective Moral Agency and International Relations (Global Issues)

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Of course, any move 19 20 Toni Erskine to attribute moral agency beyond the individual to institutions such as states in a way that is not merely metaphorical must be carefully considered. Human individuals are generally thought to be paradigmatic moral agents; the potential moral agency of collectivities is an important but relatively neglected area of inquiry. )4 To say that an individual human being is a moral agent is to say that this individual has the capacity to both understand and respond to ethical reasoning.

Arendt, ‘Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility’ [1948], in L. May and S. Hoffmann (eds), Collective Responsibility: Five Decades of Debate in Theoretical and Applied Ethics (Savage: Rowman and Littlefield, 1991), pp. 273–83. 12 The important point here is that some actions cannot be reductively prescribed or evaluated with reference to the actions of those individual agents that constitute the group. The terminology used to describe such actions varies. These actions might be called ‘corporate’ actions, and responsibility for these actions might, in turn, be described as ‘corporate’ in contrast with ‘collective’.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of this analysis I will be content with a very broad distinction. I am interested in Jackson’s States and ‘Quasi-States’ 29 detailed and insightful depiction of the drastically disparate conditions – both normative and empirical – in which states currently exist. I will suggest that the idea of the quasi-state, and the recognition of these conditions, throws a spanner in the works of any easy attribution of moral agency to the state. 31 If the model of institutional moral agency being proposed here is eventually to provide a guide to how responsibilities might be coherently distributed in international relations, it must acknowledge this difference.

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