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The Samaritan’s Curse: moral individuals and immoral groups

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2021

Kaushik Basu*
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

Abstract

In this paper, I revisit the question of how and in what sense can individuals comprising a group be held responsible for morally reprehensible behaviour by that group. The question is tackled by posing a counterfactual: what would happen if selfish individuals became moral creatures? A game called the Samaritan’s Curse is developed, which sheds light on the dilemma of group moral responsibility, and raises new questions concerning ‘conferred morality’ and self-fulfilling morals, and also forces us to question some implicit assumptions of game-theory.

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Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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