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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521039703
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2007
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Law Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents


1 Introduction 1

2 The Deep Structure of Individual Accountability 17

2.1 Introduction 17

2.2 Social accountability as an example of the fundamentally relational nature of accountability 20

2.3 The relational bases of moral accountability: conduct, consequences, and character 25

2.4 A complication: the dynamics of accountability 46

2.5 The irreducibility of accountability 49

2.6 Ethical functionalism without consequentialism 53

2.7 Nietzsche's challenge 56

2.8 Legal accountability and the limits of response 59

2.9 Conclusion 64

3 Acting Together 66

3.1 Introduction 66

3.2 Methodology: generality, reducibility, and functionalism 68

3.3 Collective action as intentional participation 74

3.4 The contributory content of participatory intentions 81

3.5 The reducibility of collective action to individual intention 85

3.6 Collective action: the minimalist approach 89

3.7 Participation and the perspective of command 96

3.8 Ascribing collective actions 103

3.9 Attributing collective intentions 107

3.10 Conclusion 112

4 Moral Accountability and Collective Action 113

4.1 Introduction 113

4.2 Common sense and the disappearance of moral accountability: Dresden 115

4.3 The inadequacy of moral theory to collective wrongdoing: individual consequentialism 124

4.4 The incompatibility of collective consequentialism and individual accountability 129

4.5 Kantian universalization and marginal contributions 133

4.6 Understanding collective action and individual accountability 138

4.7 Conclusion 144

5 Complicitous Accountability 146

5.1 Introduction 146

5.2 Whether complicit actors are less culpable thandirect actors 147

5.3 Conclusion 164

6 Problematic Accountability: Facilitation, Unstructured Collective Harm, and Organizational Dysfunction 166

6.1 Introduction 166

6.2 Complicity without participation 168

6.3 Collective accountability and holistic responses 191

6.4 Conclusion 202

7 Complicity, Conspiracy, and Shareholder Liability 204

7.1 Introduction 204

7.2 Epistemic constraints upon legal accountability 206

7.3 Criminal complicity doctrine and the scope of liability 209

7.4 Justifying complicitous accountability 220

7.5 Against the limited civil liability of shareholders 236

7.6 Conclusion 253

8 Conclusion: Accountability and the Possibility of Community 254

Notes 261

Bibliography 311

Index 325

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