A Definitional Analysis of Moral Individualism

  • Victoria Openif’Oluwa Akoleowo

Abstract

Moral Individualism is often conflated with Methodological Individualism. While both are forms of individualism, methodological individualism is often erroneously defined as the theory that individuals are the only entities to whom moral responsibility can be attributed. As a result of this, methodological individualism is often conceptualised as the polar opposite to moral collectivism, the theory that collectives are appropriate targets of moral assessments. Given that the debate on corporate moral agency revolves around whether corporations are appropriate targets of moral attributions, this article utilizes the conceptual analysis and reconstructive methods to adduce the distinction between methodological and moral individualism, ultimately defining methodological individualism as the explanation of social reality in terms of the component individuals; and moral individualism as the theory that individuals are the sole units of morality, that is, only individuals have moral worth. The paper therefore presents a definitional analysis of moral individualism as the polar opposite to moral collectivism, with the aim of clarifying the focal concepts in the discourse on corporate moral agency.

Published
2020-11-08
Section
Articles