Responsibility Incorporated

37 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2008

See all articles by Philip N. Pettit

Philip N. Pettit

Princeton University; Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS)

Abstract

Incorporated groups include businesses, universities, churches and the like. Organized to act as single centers of agency, they also routinely satisfy the three conditions that make an agent fit to be held responsible: they face significant choices, can recognize the relative value of different options, and are able to choose in sensitivity to such values. But is it redundant to hold a corporate agent responsible for something, when certain members are also held responsible for the individual parts they play? No it is not, for it is often possible for a corporate entity to be fully fit to be held responsible, when this is not true of the individual members; they may be able to make excuses that are not available at the corporate level. Does the case made for corporate responsibility extend to unincorporated collectivities like nations or religions? Not strictly but it does explain why it may be sensible to treat those collectivities as if they had corporate responsibility in certain domains.

Suggested Citation

Pettit, Philip N., Responsibility Incorporated. Ethics, Vol. 117, 2007; Princeton Law and Public Affairs Working Paper No. 08-003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1088249

Philip N. Pettit (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

305 Marx Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-4759 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~ppettit/

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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