Climate Change, Collective Harm and Legitimate Coercion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Liberalism faces a tension between its commitment to minimal interference with individual liberty and the urgent need for strong collective action on global climate change. This paper attempts to resolve that tension. It does so on the one hand by defending an expanded model of collective moral responsibility, according to which a set of individuals can be responsible, qua 'putative group', for harm resulting from the predictable aggregation of their individual acts. On the other, it defends a collectivized version of the harm principle. The claim is that the collectivized principle pushes the burden of argument, against coercively enforced measures to curtail climate change and compensate its victims, onto the global elite collectively responsible for environmental harms. Some such potential arguments are briefly considered and rejected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-193
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • climate change
  • collective responsibility
  • liberalism
  • harm principle


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