Accountability for Collective Wrongdoing

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Tracy Isaacs, Richard Vernon
Cambridge University Press, Jan 31, 2011 - Law
Ideas of collective responsibility challenge the doctrine of individual responsibility that is the dominant paradigm in law and liberal political theory. But little attention is given to the consequences of holding groups accountable for wrongdoing. Groups are not amenable to punishment in the way that individuals are. Can they be punished – and if so, how – or are other remedies available? The topic crosses the borders of law, philosophy and political science, and in this volume specialists in all three areas contribute their perspectives. They examine the limits of individual criminal liability in addressing atrocity, the meanings of punishment and responsibility, the distribution of group punishment to a group's members, and the means by which collective accountability can be expressed. In doing so, they reflect on the legacy of the Nuremberg Trials, on the philosophical understanding of collective responsibility, and on the place of collective accountability in international political relations.

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About the author (2011)

Tracy Isaacs is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research (which she also chairs) at the University of Western Ontario. She is co-editor, with Samantha Brennan and Michael Milde, of New Canadian Perspectives in Ethics and Value Theory, and has published articles in a number of philosophical journals including Ethics, Criminal Justice Ethics and The American Philosophical Quarterly. She has a forthcoming monograph titled Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts.

Richard Vernon is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. His publications include The Career of Toleration (winner of the C. B. Macpherson Prize in 1998), Political Morality: A Theory of Liberal Democracy (2001), Friends, Citizens, Strangers: Essays on Where We Belong (2005) and Cosmopolitan Regard: Political Membership and Global Justice (2010). His current work-in-progress includes a monograph on historical redress.

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