The implications of being implicated. Individual responsibility and structural injustice

Ronald Tinnevelt


Within the global justice debate the demandingness objection is primarily aimed at utilitarian theorists who defend a version of the ‘optimizing principle of beneficence’ to deal with the problem of global poverty. The problem of demandingness, however, is hardly ever raised within the context of the dominant institutional theories of global justice that see severe poverty as a human rights violation. Nor are the fundamental underlying questions posed by most of these theorists. Which specific responsibilities do individual moral agents have regarding institutional and structural forms of injustice (1)? Which political spheres, organized public spaces, or political practices are necessary to create a setting in which these responsibilities can be discharged (2)? Does a ‘defensible and psychologically feasible conception of responsibility’ (Scheffler 2002, 62) exist that is restrictive – yet demanding – enough to deal with the complex challenges of our globalizing age (3). This paper addresses questions (1) and (3) on the basis of a critical analysis of Iris Marion Young’s social connection theory of responsibility.




global justice; demandingness; individual responsibilities; Iris Marion Young

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