Social Groups, Explanation and Ontological Holism
This chapter begins from the belief that whatever a theory of moral evaluation and responsibility specifies, it picks out certain conditions or properties which are features of persons or rather moral agents understood as a restriction on the kind term person; and groups are in no obvious sense persons or agents. Thus people may hold that Aztec culture was bad or ugly, but not hold the Aztec people morally responsible for the deaths it inflicted through sacrifice. In doing so it may then be appropriate to regard a group as being capable of bearing some degree of moral judgement. From a school class held in detention to a people subjected to international sanctions, there appears little reticence in their readiness to make judgements of attribute moral predicates to, and take action directed at groups.