Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Distributive Justice and Distributed Obligations

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

Collectivities can have obligations beyond the aggregate of pre-existing obligations of their members. Certain such collective obligations distribute, i.e., become members’ obligations to do their fair share. In incremental good cases, i.e., those in which a member’s fair share would go part way toward fulfilling the collectivity’s obligation, each member has an unconditional obligation to contribute.States are involuntary collectivities that bear moral obligations. Certain states, democratic legal states, are collectivities whose obligations can distribute. Many existing states are democratic legal states, but none satisfies more rigorous requirements of distributive justice. There, citizens who hold assets, in excess of what is just, bear a distributed duty to dedicate that excess toward correcting the injustice. It is an incremental good case not conditioned on the conformity of others who are also wealthier than justice allows, nor on the diligence of the state in meeting its obligations.

Affiliations: 1: Georgia State University,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Bennett A. (2014), "Fair Play", in: London Review of Books Vol 36(12), 2930.
2. Bolton v. Stone , [1951] ac 850, [1951] 1 All er 1078.
3. Buchanan Allen (2013), The Heart of Human Rights , Oxford.
4. Cohen G.A., (2000), "Political Philosophy and Personal Behavior" in: Cohen G.A., If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? , Cambridge, ma.
5. Cohen G.A. (2008), Rescuing Justice and Equality , Cambridge, ma.
6. Collins S.,, and Lawford-Smith H. (2016), "Collectives’ and Individuals’ Obligations: a Parity Argument, in": Canadian Journal of Philosophy , Vol 46(1), 3858.
7. Copp D. (2006), "On the Agency of Certain Collective Entities", in: Midwest Studies in Philosophy Vol 30, 194221.
8. Crawford N.C. (2007), "Individual and Collective Moral Responsibility for Systemic Military Atrocity", in: Journal of Political Philosophy Vol 15(2), 187212.
9. Darby D., and Branscombe N.R. (2014), "Beyond the Sins of the Fathers: Responsibility for Inequality", in: Midwest Studies In Philosophy Vol 38, 12137.
10. Edmundson W.A., (2015), "Ought We to Do What We Ought to Be Made to Do?" in: Pavlakos G., and Rodriguez-Blanco V., eds., Practical Normativity. Essays on Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Reason , Cambridge.
11. Fieldhouse A. (2013), "A Review of the Economic Research on the Effects of Raising Ordinary Income Tax Rates: Higher Revenue, Unchanged Growth, and Uncertain but Potentially Large Reductions in the Growth of Inequality, in: Economic Policy Institute/The Century Foundation", Issue Brief #353.
12. Gilbert M. (2006), "Who’s to Blame? Collective Moral Responsibility and Its Implications for Group Members", in: Midwest Studies in Philosophy Vol 30, 94114.
13. Goodin R., (1996), "The State as a Moral Agent", in: Goodin R., Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy , Cambridge.
14. Held V. (1970), "Can a Random Collection of Individuals Be Morally Responsible?", in: The Journal of Philosophy Vol 67, 47181.
15. Isaacs T., (2011), "Collective Moral Responsibility", in: Isaacs T., Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts , Oxford, 5270.
16. Kant I., (1793/1996), Practical Philosophy , Gregor M.J. (ed.), Cambridge.
17. Kutz C. (2001), Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age , Cambridge.
18. Lawford-Smith H. (2012), "The Feasibility of Collectives’ Actions", in: Australasian Journal of Philosophy Vol 90(3), 45367.
19. B. Leiter (2015), "Why Marxism Still Does Not Need Normative Theory", in: Analyse und Kritik Vol 2015(37), 2350.
20. List C. (2006), "The Discursive Dilemma and Public Reason," in: Ethics Vol 116, 362402.
21. C. List,, and Pettit P. (2011), Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents , Oxford.
22. May L. (1987), The Morality of Groups , South Bend, in.
23. Miller D., (2013), "Taking up the Slack? Responsibility and Justice in Situations of Partial Compliance", in: Miller D., Justice for Earthlings: Essays in Political Philosophy , Cambridge, 20627.
24. Miller S. (2006), "Collective Moral Responsibility: An Individualist Account", in: Midwest Studies in Philosophy Vol 30, 17693.
25. Murphy L.B. (1998), "Institutions and the Demands of Justice", in: Philosophy and Public Affairs Vol 27, 25191.
26. Nagel T., (1981), "Libertarianism without Foundations", in: Paul J. (ed.) Reading Nozick , Totowah, nj.
27. Parrish J.M. (2009), "Collective Responsibility and the State", in: International Theory Vol 1, 11954.
28. Pasternak A."Sharing the Costs of Political Injustices", in: Politics, Philosophy & Economics Vol 10(2) 188210.
29. Pettit P. (2007), "Responsibility Incorporated", in: Ethics Vol 117(2), 171201.
30. Postema G. (1995), "Morality in the First-Person Plural", in: Law and Philosophy Vol 14, 3564.
31. Radzik L. (2001), "Collective Responsibility and Duties to Respond", in: Social Theory and Practice Vol 27(3), 45571.
32. Rawls J. (1999a), A Theory of Justice , Cambridge, ma.
33. Rawls J. (1999b), The Law of Peoples , Cambridge, ma.
34. Rawls J. (2001), Justice as Fairness: a Restatement , Cambridge, ma.
35. Sen A. (2011), The Idea of Justice , Cambridge, ma.
36. Shafer-Landau R. (1994), "Vegetarianism, Causation, and Ethical Theory", in: Public Affairs Quarterly Vol 8, 85100.
37. Shockley K. (2007), "Programming Collective Control", in: Journal of Social Philosophy Vol 38(3), 44255.
38. Smilansky S., (2007), "The Paradox of Beneficial Retirement", in: Smilansky S., Ten Moral Paradoxes , Oxford.
39. Smiley M. (2010–11), "From Moral Agency to Collective Wrongs: Re-thinking Collective Moral Responsibility", in: Journal of Law and Policy Vol 19, 171202.
40. Stilz A. (2011), "Collective Responsibility and the State", in: Journal of Political Philosophy Vol 19, 190208.
41. Williams A. (1998), "Incentives, Inequality, and Publicity", in: Philosophy and Public Affairs Vol 27(3), 22547.
42. Young I.M. (2011), Responsibility for Justice , Oxford.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Journal of Moral Philosophy — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation