Global obligations, collective capacities, and ‘ought implies can’

  • Bill WringeEmail author


It is sometimes argued that non-agent collectives, including what one might call the ‘global collective’ consisting of the world’s population taken as a whole, cannot be the bearers of non-distributive moral obligations on pain of violating the principle that ‘ought implies can’. I argue that one prominent line of argument for this conclusion fails because it illicitly relies on a formulation of the ‘ought implies can’ principle which is inapt for contexts which allow for the possibility of non-distributive plural predications of agency, which are precisely the contexts in which we might expect non-agents to be obligation-bearers.


Collective obligation Ought implies can Agency 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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