chapter  6
24 Pages

The Moral Status of Social Groups

Social groups are composite material particulars individuated in virtue of their causal and explanatory role, and this understanding and treatment of them is consistent with our general taxonomic practices. In the remaining chapters I turn to a consideration of the way in which groups fi gure in our evaluative and practical reasoning. I do not attempt a comprehensive analysis of the appropriate way to understand the role of groups in our forms of moral discourse, a task too sweeping in scope to accomplish within the present context. Rather, an examination is undertaken of how we might begin to go about making sense of our references to groups in moral discourse. The starting point is our everyday, legal and social scientifi c talk in which groups are often treated as if they are the kind of things to which we can owe obligations, which can possess rights, and which we can evaluate and judge as being morally responsible. If we are to take this talk at face value, then we must show that groups are indeed apt to be treated in such ways.