Collective Responsibility and the Practice of Medicine
French, Peter A.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1982 Feb; 7(1): 65-85.
Two types of collectivities, aggregate and conglomerate, are analyzed. Moral responsibility cannot be ascribed to aggregates because they are comprised of individuals who have little or no relationship to each other. In contrast, conglomerates are comprised of individuals within an organizational system that has a "corporate internal decision structure"; the conglomerate can be held morally responsible for its actions without blame being necessarily placed on individual members. The medical profession is considered to be an aggregate collectivity, in which each individual practitioner bears at least some responsibility for the delivery of health care. (KIE abstract)
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