Complicity : Ethics and Law for a Collective Age

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We live in a morally flawed world. Our lives are complicated by what other people do, and by the harms that flow from our social, economic and political institutions. Our relations as individuals to these collective harms constitute the domain of complicity. This book examines the relationship between collective responsibility and individual guilt. It presents a rigorous philosophical account of the nature of our relations to the social groups in which we participate, and uses that account in a discussion of contemporary moral theory. Christopher Kutz shows that the two prevailing theories of moral philosophy, Kantianism and consequentialism, both have difficulties resolving problems of complicity. He then argues for a richer theory of accountability in which any real understanding of collective action not only allows but demands individual responsibility.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 158 x 230 x 26mm | 598.75g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0521594529
  • 9780521594523
  • 2,252,602

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; 1. Introduction; 2. The deep structure of individual accountability; 3. Acting together; 4. Moral accountability and collective action; 5. Complicitous accountability; 6. Problematic accountability: facilitation, unstructured collective harm, and organizational dysfunction; 7. Complicity, conspiracy, and shareholder liability; 8. Conclusion: accountability and the possibility of community; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

"...[a] careful, thorough and, at the same time, imaginative and socially and politically relevant book." Law and Politics "Christopher Kutz has written an excellent book: part metaphysics, part ethical theory, and part legal philosophy...The book should be read widely by anyone interested in issues of moral and legal responsibility." The Philosophical Review "...thoughtful, stylish, and wide-ranging...this lucid and stimulating book is a significant contribution to the literature." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research "Filled with concrete examples, imagined, literary, and historical, Kutz's wide-ranging and probing discussion is written in measured and elegant prose... This thoughtful and stimulating book is a significant addition to the literature." Margaret Gilbert, Social Theory and Practice
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