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.
Sefler, George F.
"Elements in a Theory of Collective Responsibility,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 15:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol15/iss2/5