Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

The responsibility of individuals

06 March 2024  |  15:00  |  Seminari de Filosofia UB


Should we displace the moral responsibility from the individual to the social in accounts of oppression, discrimination, and injustice? Here, I argue that individuals and their attitudes should have explanatory priority in the assessment of moral responsibility. This rests on evidence from recent research in the social sciences aiming at explaining cross-cultural commonalities that can’t be properly predicted nor explained by purely structural explanations. I argue that individual attitudes and mental states are necessary for the explanation of social phenomena, and that structural explanations are not sufficient for such explanations, since they cannot, by themselves, explain the common features of social events across socio-historical contexts. Crucially, only individuals can be morally responsible for their intentions to participate in the kind of phenomena considered here: from ideological choices to dangerous speech and mass violence.