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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 17, Issue 1, 2014

What Is Radical Philosophy Today?

Harry van der Linden
Pages 45-62

Iris Young, Radical Responsibility, and War

In this paper I argue that a merit of Iris Young’s social connection model of responsibility for structural injustices is that it directs the American people’s responsibility for unjust wars, such as the recent war against Iraq, toward their responsibility to abolish the “war machine,” including the “empire of bases,” that is a contributing factor of unjust U.S. wars. I also raise two objections to her model. First, her model leads us to downplay the culpability of the American people as a political collective in voting to continue the Iraq war with the re-election of George W. Bush. Second, Young misinterprets her model of responsibility as a new type of responsibility that is conceptually completely distinct from liability responsibility rather than as offering a new ground for holding people responsible.

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