Moral Compatibilism: Rights, responsibility, punishment and compensation.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/185747
Title:
Moral Compatibilism: Rights, responsibility, punishment and compensation.
Author:
Corlett, Jay Angelo.
Issue Date:
1992
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The moral status of collectives is an important problem for any plausible moral, social and political philosophy. Are collectives proper subjects of moral rights and moral responsibility (liability) ascriptions? Is it morally justified for the state to punish collectives for criminal offenses, or for the state to force collectives to pay compensation for tort offenses? Moral Individualism denies that collectives are properly ascribed properties such as moral rights, moral liability, and punishability, while Moral Collectivism affirms that some collectives may be legitimately ascribed all such moral properties. I argue for a compatibilist position: "Moral Compatibilism." Using a hybrid interest/choice model of collective moral rights, I argue that it is justified to attribute moral rights to some collectives (prototypically, numerically large nations and corporations). Furthermore, I argue that it is morally unjustified for the state to impose sanctions on collectives. For a necessary condition of the state's imposing sanctions on collectives (in a morally justified way) is that the object of the imposed sanction is a morally liable agent. But collectives, though they can (ideally) be morally liable for their doings, are typically not structured such that they are morally liable agents. Collectives--even highly organized ones--do not typically satisfy some of the conditions jointly necessary for moral liability. It is not clear that they are intentional, epistemic, and voluntary agents. This distinction between what a collective can become and what it typically is in regards to intentionality, voluntariness, etc., is crucial. Yet it is not made by others working in this area. The arguments of this dissertation have important theoretical and practical implications for action theory, moral, social, legal, political philosophy, and business ethics. It in no way follows from my arguments that collectives cannot be restructured so that they can satisfy the conditions of moral liability and become justified objects of state sanction when they act negligently or criminally. In fact, I argue that it is the moral obligation of persons in society to restructure their social institutions so that such collectives become morally liable agents (at least to some meaningful extent). This poses a challenge to moral, social and political philosophers to think of how such collectives might be restructured so that the state may legitimately impose sanctions on them to the extent that they are morally liable agents.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Dissertations, Academic.; Social psychology.; Philosophy.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Philosophy; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Feinberg, Joel

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleMoral Compatibilism: Rights, responsibility, punishment and compensation.en_US
dc.creatorCorlett, Jay Angelo.en_US
dc.contributor.authorCorlett, Jay Angelo.en_US
dc.date.issued1992en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe moral status of collectives is an important problem for any plausible moral, social and political philosophy. Are collectives proper subjects of moral rights and moral responsibility (liability) ascriptions? Is it morally justified for the state to punish collectives for criminal offenses, or for the state to force collectives to pay compensation for tort offenses? Moral Individualism denies that collectives are properly ascribed properties such as moral rights, moral liability, and punishability, while Moral Collectivism affirms that some collectives may be legitimately ascribed all such moral properties. I argue for a compatibilist position: "Moral Compatibilism." Using a hybrid interest/choice model of collective moral rights, I argue that it is justified to attribute moral rights to some collectives (prototypically, numerically large nations and corporations). Furthermore, I argue that it is morally unjustified for the state to impose sanctions on collectives. For a necessary condition of the state's imposing sanctions on collectives (in a morally justified way) is that the object of the imposed sanction is a morally liable agent. But collectives, though they can (ideally) be morally liable for their doings, are typically not structured such that they are morally liable agents. Collectives--even highly organized ones--do not typically satisfy some of the conditions jointly necessary for moral liability. It is not clear that they are intentional, epistemic, and voluntary agents. This distinction between what a collective can become and what it typically is in regards to intentionality, voluntariness, etc., is crucial. Yet it is not made by others working in this area. The arguments of this dissertation have important theoretical and practical implications for action theory, moral, social, legal, political philosophy, and business ethics. It in no way follows from my arguments that collectives cannot be restructured so that they can satisfy the conditions of moral liability and become justified objects of state sanction when they act negligently or criminally. In fact, I argue that it is the moral obligation of persons in society to restructure their social institutions so that such collectives become morally liable agents (at least to some meaningful extent). This poses a challenge to moral, social and political philosophers to think of how such collectives might be restructured so that the state may legitimately impose sanctions on them to the extent that they are morally liable agents.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectDissertations, Academic.en_US
dc.subjectSocial psychology.en_US
dc.subjectPhilosophy.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorFeinberg, Joelen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLehrer, Keithen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCowan, Joseph L.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest9220675en_US
dc.identifier.oclc712069621en_US
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