National Redemption: The Value of Uninvolved Collective Guilt
Benjamin Matheson (University of Bern)

May 20, 2024, 3:15pm - 4:45pm

This event is online


Stockholm University
University of Gothenburg
University of Vienna

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The Collective Ethics Seminar: Online Presentation – 20 May 2024 - 15.15 - 16.45 CET / 09.15 - 10.45 EST

Benjamin Matheson – National Redemption: The Value of Uninvolved Collective Guilt

On Monday 20 May 2024, Benjamin Matheson will give an online presentation at the Collective Ethics Seminar entitled ‘National Redemption: The Value of Uninvolved Collective Guilt’.

Abstract: For feelings of guilt for an action to be fitting, such feelings must accurately appraise its target (oneself) as guilty for performing that action. This creates a puzzle when it comes to understanding whether collective guilt is ever fitting, for its fittingness seems to depend on accurately appraising oneself as guilty for performing a collective action. But it’s not clear how an individual can be guilty of performing a collective action. It is, though, easy to explain how an individual can be guilty of contributing to a collective action, for such involved collective guilt is really just a matter of explaining the individual guilt of those who have contributed to the collective action in question. However, it does not seem possible to claim that a person can be guilty of a collective action that she has not contributed to, so it does not seem possible to explain the fittingness of uninvolved collective guilt. While such uninvolved collective guilt cannot be fitting, in this paper, I explain how uninvolved collective guilt can still be intelligible and that it is valuable insofar as it motivates and sustains national redemption. I also consider how such guilt relates to collective shame and collective blame.

The online seminar is open for all to attend. The session starts at 15.15 CET / 09.15 EST. You can join the session via the following link:

For more information about the seminar and the schedule for 2024S, please see

We hope to see you at the seminar!

Kind regards,

Gunnar Björnsson (Stockholm University), Olle Blomberg (University of Gothenburg), and Niels de Haan (University of Vienna)


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