The Latinx Community, Anti-Black Racism and Forward-Looking Collective Moral Responsibility

Julisa Jazsmine Fernandez-Rivera, University of Texas at El Paso


In the literature on collective responsibility, theorists have utilized different methods in order to argue collective responsibility can be attributed to collectives. Some theorists have referred to Strawson’s account of participant reactive attitudes in order to support their claims that certain collectives can be the appropriate targets of reactive attitudes (2008). According to Strawson (2008), attributing reactive attitudes, such as guilt, praise, hurt feelings, obligation, etc. towards others and ourselves is what constitutes moral responsibility. Though Strawson’s account only focuses on individual responsibility, theorists, such as Deborah Tollefsen and Kay Mathiesen, have extended his account to support their claims about collective responsibility. Tollefsen argues that, similar to individual agents, certain collectives can be the appropriate target of reactive attitudes if they have the capacity of moral address (2003). Mathiesen, on the other hand, uses a Strawsonian approach in order to develop a set of conditions for moral agency that only specific kinds of collectives can meet (2006). As a result, the collectives that meet the criteria these theorists have developed are structured, collective agents, such as companies, governments, institutions, etc. As a result of this, cases involving non- agential collectives and collective responsibility are overlooked. I have discussed how Strawson’s work has been used in the literature to point out that Tollefsen and Mathiesen are assuming that the way we analyze how an individual is the appropriate target of reactive attitudes has to be extended or carried over to the collective. My claim in this paper is that there is no prima facie reason for our assessment of individuals and collectives to be analogous. Specifically, I am skeptical as to whether collectives have to meet the moral address condition in the way that individuals do. I argue that certain non- agential collectives in specific situations can have collective responsibility, in the forward- looking sense, and meet the moral address condition. A case I will be exploring specifically will focus on the Latinx collective and anti- black racism in the U.S.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Fernandez-Rivera, Julisa Jazsmine, "The Latinx Community, Anti-Black Racism and Forward-Looking Collective Moral Responsibility" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28869354.