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Ronald Dworkin's Group Fetishism

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Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to point out how questions of group responsibility should not be answered. This is done by criticizing Ronald Dworkin’s discussion of the moral justification of imputing responsibility in tort law to a corporation’s shareholders. Dworkin suggests to treat corporations as moral agents and to apply principles about individual fault and responsibility to them, and then to ask how the corporations’ members should be seen to share in that fault or responsibility. It is argued that Dworkin thus commits the fallacy of “group fetishism”: He presupposes that the group may have moral characteristics that are neither identical with nor derived from the moral characteristics of its members. In addition to criticizing Dworkin’s approach, the paper briefly points out the direction from which such questions should be approached.

Amir Horowitz, "Ronald Dworkin's Group Fetishism," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 415-423


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