Dublin Conference

‘Collective Responsibility for the Future’
A conference to be held at University College Dublin, June 15-16, 2015

Sponsored by:
School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Ireland
The Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics, Georgia State University, USA

Collectives sometimes unjustly harm people, either intentionally or by accident. Scholars and laypersons increasingly discuss whether and how they can be considered responsible for these wrongs, and what, if anything, those collectives should then do. Some have suggested various forms of reparations, commemoration, or memorialization. However, the most important lesson to be learned from any instance of historic injustice should be preventing such things from happening again. Since collectives are in a position to cause great harms, and may have significant resources, they may have prospective responsibilities to invest in moral, political, and social safeguards against injustice.

Responsibility as such is a complex issue. It is difficult to identify clearly the relevant criteria for causal and moral responsibility (backwards-looking responsibility) and any rectificatory duties that follow from this. It is no easier to determine who, has prospective responsibilities with regard to any particular issue, and under which circumstances. Finally, we also need to determine the relevant justifications for allocating remedial responsibility for addressing problems that concern society, irrespective of who or what had been their cause.

Discussing these questions in the context of collectives rather than individuals adds a further layer of complexity. To what extent either of these can be conceived in collective terms is a matter of debate. Even if this were agreed, it remains to be considered upon which collectives such responsibilities fall and how responsibilities are distributed between collectives and individuals.

Keynote speakers:
Simon Caney (Political Theory) University of Oxford, UK “The Collective Duty to Resist Injustice and to Create Just Institutions”

Philip Pettit (Political Theory)  “Incorporating for Responsibility”
Fall Semester: University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ  USA
Spring (northern) Semester: School of Philosophy, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT Australia

Preliminary conference attendee list

Final Program June162015

Registration and accommodation booking will be available online at Eventbrite registration site.

The conference sessions will run from (NB) 10 am on Monday 15 June to 6pm on Tuesday 16 June.  There will be a conference dinner on Monday evening.

Registration information:
The full conference registration rate (includes coffees and lunches on two days, and a dinner) will be as follows*:

Early bird rate: (on or before 1 May): €74.95 (including fees)
After 1 May: €85.55 (including fees)

Additional details are available at the conference Eventbrite registration site.

*The conference may be in a position to offer a significantly reduced rate to some speakers who do not have funding to cover their full expenses. To apply for a waiver of registration fee, speakers should contact Iseult Honohan at iseult.honohan@ucd.ie


Conference participants have many options. We urge people to secure accommodations very soon. Our conference will overlap with Dublin’s annual Bloomsday celebration, so hotel space may soon become scarce.

1) Accommodation will be available in university residences on the conference site. These are single rooms (with ensuite bathroom) in apartments with shared kitchen and lounge facilities, for 4 – 6 persons.
Rates: See the conference Eventbrite registration site for options and fee details. Fees are per single room.
If pre-booked, rooms will be available at these rates for any or all of the nights between Friday 12 June and Wednesday 17 June.

2) An alternative is the nearby Stillorgan Park Hotel, which has double rooms and family rooms. This hotel provides a shuttle bus to UCD. See the hotel’s website. Delegates would need to book these rooms directly with the hotel, mentioning the conference at UCD,and early booking is advised.

3) Also nearby is the Radisson Blu Stillorgan Hotel, within walking distance of UCD. See the hotel’s website. Delegates would need to book these rooms directly with the hotel, mentioning the conference at UCD, and early booking is advised.

4) There are many city-centre hotels; the bus ride from the city centre is approximately fifteen minutes. Delegates would need to book these rooms directly with the hotel.


Andrew I. Cohen
Director, Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics
Department of Philosophy
Georgia State University
P. O. Box 3994
Atlanta, GA 30302-3994 USA
[1] 404-413-6111

Iseult Honohan
UCD School of Politics and International Relations
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4