Is Trump responsible for the January 6 insurrection? Are “white people” responsible for slavery? In Collective Responsibility, Leadership, and Attributionism: Responsibility beyond our Control, Eugene Schlossberger expands, updates, and argues for the attributionist account of moral responsibility and agency and applies it to several pressing contemporary concerns: leaders’ responsibility for their followers' acts (and ordinary persons’ responsibility for their influence on others), collective responsibility, addiction, and responsibility for what we would have done. Moral agents are continuing worldviews in operation who are ultimately responsible for their worldviews and occasion-responsible for acts, events, and circumstances that occasion a judgment of responsibility. Agents can be responsible for many things beyond their fingertips—such as others' behavior that they enabled—that reveal something about their worldviews. The wide-ranging discussion addresses the responsibility of psychopaths; the nature of beliefs and desires; social convergence theory; twelve forms of subjectability (such as blame and owing an apology); queerness and moral internalism; the beneficiary pays principle; and much more. The result is a comprehensive picture of agency and responsibility.
Eugene Schlossberger is professor emeritus of philosophy at Purdue University Northwest.
Chapter One: The Big Picture
Chapter Two: Agency, Moral Responsibility, and Addiction
Chapter Three: Leader Responsibility (Is Trump to Blame?)
Chapter Four: Collective Responsibility
Chapter Five Counterfactual Responsibility
Appendix I: Featurism
Appendix II: List of Distinctions
About the Author
"The attributionist approach to moral responsibility is rapidly gaining in popularity and influence, and Eugene Schlossberger’s Moral Responsibility beyond Our Fingertips will undoubtedly contribute to this trend—it is certainly the richest and most wide-ranging defense and development of attributionism available. Of particular value is the thorough and sophisticated attention that Schlossberger gives to applying attributionism to areas that other attributionists have left largely unexplored, chief among these being the topic of collective responsibility."
"In Moral Responsibility beyond Our Fingertips, Professor Schlossberger has extended and further applied his theory of responsibility as delineated in his landmark work Moral Responsibility and Persons.
With diligence and precision, Schlossberger lays out a coherent and plausible theory for assessing moral responsibility before considering implications for leadership, attributionism, and the concept of collective responsibility. He makes a plausible case for his conclusions, which provide much-needed guidance at this time of short-sighted finger-pointing in American society.
The highlight of Schlossberger’s coverage of applied contexts is the Chapter 3 discussion of the moral responsibility of leaders. One would be hard pressed to refute his conclusions regarding former President Donald Trump and others.
With the possible exception of Schlossberger’s claims about responsibility through contributing to a culture, scholars are more likely to challenge his theoretical foundation than the implications stemming from that foundation. Even so, we need to consider seriously his basis for moral responsibility (including the role of moral appraiseability) and his corresponding view that 'the moral self is a continuing (unfolding and developing) worldview in operation.'"