UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

What Does Justice Require of Me? The Individual Demands of Social Justice, and the Paradox of Collective Harm

Mellor, Rowan; (2021) What Does Justice Require of Me? The Individual Demands of Social Justice, and the Paradox of Collective Harm. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

[thumbnail of Rowan Mellor 110001814 PhD.pdf]
Preview
Text
Rowan Mellor 110001814 PhD.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

For many of us, the existence of social injustice is a source of disquiet. Recognising that social conditions are unjust seems to have implications for how each of us ought to act. Yet precisely what those implications are is difficult to establish. Much social injustice can be thought of as ‘structural’, where this implies that it is the cumulative result of largescale behavioural patterns in which a given individual’s actions appear negligible. As such, structural injustice seems to be something for which no one can be held personally responsible. In this thesis, I provide accounts of both the personal requirements of social justice and the wrong of collective harm. The result is a picture of our responsibilities with respect to justice which specifically addresses conditions of structural injustice. Part 1 considers the nature of structural injustice, and delineates the personal requirements implied by particular institutional principles. I argue that the existence of structural injustice supports the view that our principles of social justice should apply primarily at the institutional level, but that this does not release individuals from responsibility. Part 2 tackles the question of whether we always have a reason to refrain from collectively harmful actions. It might seem plausible to answer in the affirmative. However, I point out that this conflicts with another seemingly plausible thought: that it is possible for a series of actions to be both collectively harmful and severally harmless. I offer a novel solution to this problem. I argue that lawmakers can be obligated to regulate collectively harmful behaviour, even if individuals have no pre-legal reason to avoid it. As such, whilst we might not always have a reason to refrain from collectively harmful actions, we can nonetheless have a moral claim on institutional actors to protect us from their joint effects.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: What Does Justice Require of Me? The Individual Demands of Social Justice, and the Paradox of Collective Harm
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133555
Downloads since deposit
83Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item