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We tend to think states have moral duties: duties to alleviate global warming, protect citizens' moral rights, admit asylum seekers, or wage only just wars. This common‐sense view accords with a growing philosophical consensus that states are corporate moral agents, able to bear duties as entities conceptually distinct from—though supervenient upon and constituted by—their members. States have clear membership rules and decision‐making procedures that are distinct from the decision‐making procedures of members. States are able to act on their decisions, through the actions that their decision‐making procedures authorise members to take. States may therefore bear prospective and retrospective responsibility for their decisions and actions. In what follows, I will assume this view is sound.


Dianoia Institute of Philosophy

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.