Ramifications of Imposing Uniform Responsibility on Collective Action

Gillman Payette


The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of van Hees and Braham’s conception of causal responsibility in terms of NESS-conditions in formal models of collective action; NESS means ‘Necessary Element of a Sufficient Set’. In particular, the paper looks at their dictatorship result which arises from imposing uniform responsibility on game forms which are augmented with a probabilistic component. Analogs for uniform NESS-responsibility are formulated within Belnap et al.’s stit models of agency—for both the instantaneous and past-looking versions. In the case of instantaneous stit theory, NESS-responsibility has dstit as a special case, and the probabilistic component is unnecessary for deriving a full dictatorship result. For past-looking agency, NESS-responsibility has astit as a special case, but uniformity, while not dictatorial, is shown to have a counterintuitive necessary condition: busy choosers.

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