Journal article

XIV-What's wrong with collective punishment?

H Lawford-Smith

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society | Published : 2018


Suppose that a group of individual agents meets plausible conditions for collective agency, and that the collective agent thereby constituted performs a harmful action. The collective may be blameworthy for having performed that action, and it may be appropriate that the collective be punished for having performed it. But this raises a difficult question: how to punish collectives. Some have argued that we can't, because we cannot punish collectives without punishing at least some of their members. I argue that this is not an objection to collective punishment, so long as members are punished in their role as members, rather than in their role as private individuals. I discuss several issues..

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