Editor's note: This paper was read at the eighth annual University of Dayton Philosophy Colloquium, held in 1979.

"Collective responsibility" is a term subject to various interpretations. Some seemingly pose philosophical problems; whereas, others are more readily acceptable. For example, assume that all the students in a classroom each cheated on an examination; collectively, then, the class is held responsible for cheating. Or, suppose three people decide to rob a bank. One masterminds the crime, another executes the robbery, and a third drives the getaway car. Here also, these men are collectively responsible for wrong-doing. These instances provide little room for dispute; no one would question the group responsibility in either case. In both, collective responsibility is viewed as an aggregate of individual responsibilities.



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