Phenomenology Today Workshop: We-intentionality and Personhood (23 maggio)

martedì, 15 Maggio, 2018

Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele (Aula Scuola di Atene)

Mercoledì 23 maggio 2018 (ore 14:00 – 16:00)

We-intentionality and Personhood (Maria Chiara Bruttomesso, Università di Verona)



If such a thing as a collective person or a personal community exists, what is its moral status? And to what extent can its members be considered as bearers of responsibility towards it and the other members? List and Pettit (2011) argue that the fitness for being held responsible lies on a) the fact of facing a normatively significant choice, b) the capacity to access evidence in order to formulate normative judgments, c) being in control of one’s own moral choice. This holds true both for singular and collective subjects. When responsibility is involved, the agent is the target of blame or approval. Gilbert (2006), on the other hand, focuses on joint commitment as the root for we-intentionality, and ascribes collective responsibility and blameworthiness – concerning individuals as well as collectives – to a subject being in the condition of a) being responsible for some violation of a moral requirement and b) knowing that her action is morally wrong.

Both accounts are, however, too cognitively demanding, as they rely on a rationalistic view of personhood that is rather partial. For this reason, in order to reassess the collective person from a normative and affective viewpoint, I will go back to Scheler’s notion of Gesamtperson (GW II, GW VIII). My aim is to show that a different notion of personhood, grounded on the order of values, leads to a type of we-intentionality that implies the emotional sharing of an axiological attitude, of irreplaceable mutual solidarity, and of responsibility (Mitverantwortlichkeit). In other words, both the individual members and the personal community are bearers of absolute co- responsibility, which entails the demanding claim of being tied to the appropriate affective and moral response: any lack of appropriate response is blameworthy. The undeniable merit of Scheler’s personalistic system is to insist on love, respect and affective sharing as the grounds for an absolute kind of solidarity, which then exceeds the mere rational responsibility. This not only helps overcome the limits of the rationalistic claim, but leads toward the highest level of autonomy and individuality of the person, since both the individuals and the community of persons are responsible for a subject’s flourishing.

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