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Collective responsibility and the state

  • John M. Parrish (a1)

Abstract

This article considers the question of whether and to what degree citizens are responsible collectively for the actions of their state. In contrast to current accounts of collective responsibility, which focus on causality or affect as means for transmitting responsibility, the article develops an alternative account, the ‘authorized state’ model. This model, drawn from core intuitions of the social contract tradition, sees collective responsibility as being transmitted through the state as the agent or representative of its citizens. Having developed this model as an ideal type, the article then assesses under what circumstances the model is most applicable. The article finally applies the model to the US war in Iraq to assess the collective responsibility of US citizens for the outcomes of that war.

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Collective responsibility and the state

  • John M. Parrish (a1)

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