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In Our NameThe Ethics of Democracy$
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Eric Beerbohm

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154619

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154619.001.0001

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Democratic Complicity

Democratic Complicity

(p.226) Chapter 9 Democratic Complicity
In Our Name

Eric Beerbohm

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores how responsibility should be distributed for democratically sponsored injustice by focusing on two leading views of complicity, which produce either false positives or false negatives and overexculpate or overimplicate the democratic citizen. The first is participatory accounts, which condition complicity on citizens acting together with the intention of producing a collective outcome. The second is associative accounts, which hold that individual citizens, embedded in political systems, engage in a kind of mediated wrongdoing. The chapter views the two accounts as two implausible poles and proposes a democratic conception of complicity designed to avoid these two poles. It also considers how socioeconomic inequalities affect the distribution of responsibility and concludes by explaining how the ineliminable regret caused by participation in unjust structures can warrant the active taking of responsibility.

Keywords:   responsibility, injustice, complicity, participatory accounts, citizens, associative accounts, socioeconomic inequalities, regret, participation

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