Moore M S
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AbstractIn discussions of moral responsibility for collectively produced effects, it is not<br> uncommon to assume that we have to abandon the view that causal involvement is a<br> necessary condition for individual co-responsibility. In general, considerations of cases<br> where there is &quot;a mismatch between the wrong a group commits and the apparent<br> causal contributions for which we can hold individuals responsible&quot; motivate this move.<br> According to Brian Lawson, &quot;solving this problem requires an approach that<br> deemphasizes the importance of causal contributions&quot;. Christopher Kutz&#39;s theory of<br> complicitious accountability in Complicity from 2000 is probably the most wellknown<br> approach of that kind.<br> Standard examples are supposed to illustrate mismatches of three different kinds: an<br> agent may be morally co-responsible for an event to a high degree even if her causal<br> contribution to that event is a) very small, b) imperceptible, or c) non-existent (in<br> overdetermination cases). From such examples, Kutz and others conclude that<br> principles of complicitious accountability cannot include a condition of causal<br> involvement.<br> In the present paper, I defend the causal involvement condition for co-responsibility.<br> These are my lines of argument:<br> First, overdetermination cases can be accommodated within a theory of coresponsibility<br> without giving up the causality condition. Kutz and others oversimplify the<br> relation between counterfactual dependence and causation, and they overlook the<br> possibility that causal relations other than marginal contribution could be morally<br> relevant.<br> Second, harmful effects are sometimes overdetermined by non-collective sets of acts.<br> Over-farming, or the greenhouse effect, might be cases of that kind. In such cases,<br> there need not be any formal organization, any unifying intentions, or any other noncausal<br> criterion of membership available. If we give up the causal condition for coresponsibility<br> it will be impossible to delimit the morally relevant set of acts related to<br> those harms. Since we sometimes find it fair to blame people for such harms, we must<br> question the argument from overdetermination.<br> Third, although problems about imperceptible effects or aggregation of very small<br> effects are morally important, e.g. when we consider degrees of blameworthiness or<br> epistemic limitations in reasoning about how to assign responsibility for specific harms,<br> they are irrelevant to the issue of whether causal involvement is necessary for<br> complicity.<br> Fourth, the costs of rejecting the causality condition for complicity are high. Causation<br> is an explicit and essential element in most doctrines of legal liability and it is central in<br> common sense views of moral responsibility. Giving up this condition could have<br> radical and unwanted consequences for legal security and predictability. However, it is<br> not only for pragmatic reasons and because it is a default position that we should<br> require stronger arguments (than conflicting intuitions about &quot;mismatches&quot;) before<br> giving up the causality condition. An essential element in holding someone to account<br> for an event is the assumption that her actions and intentions are part of the<br> explanation of why that event occurred. If we give up that element, it is difficult to see<br> which important function responsibility assignments could have.