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Title: Collective Continuity and Ontological Responsibility
Subtitle: Contesting the Pragmatic Approach in Ascribing Responsibility to Groups
Author(s): UNTEA, Ionut
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 26    Issue: 4   Date: 2019   
Pages: 583-621
DOI: 10.2143/EP.26.4.3288451

Abstract :
The present paper challenges the view, rooted in the argument that groups lack a mind in the Davidsonian sense, that collective responsibility may be assessed mainly according to pragmatic criteria. I argue in favour of a kind of mental web of holistic collective attitudes and mindsets in the weak sense. I further connect this mental web to the dimension of collective responsibility via a reflection involving the existentialist dimension of Jaspers’ dilemma of seeing individuals in the position of having to embrace not only those aspects of the collective identity that make them proud, but also those for which they feel guilt. My argument is also inspired by Sartre’s view of a task reflected in the individual mind by the group as a special kind of subjectivity living ‘for’ and ‘through’ individuals. I illustrate my argument with the 2018 controversies surrounding the approach of Poland’s political leaders to the Polish continuity of collective identity and collective responsibility.

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