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People Dr Anne Schwenkenbecher

Visiting Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease


Anne Schwenkenbecher

Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow

Anne is a Lecturer in Philosophy in the School of Arts and Academic Chair of the Philosophy Program at Murdoch University in Western Australia. Before joining Murdoch in June 2013, she held appointments at The University of Melbourne, the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) at Australian National University, the University of Vienna, and Potsdam University. Her PhD in Philosophy (2009) is from Humboldt University of Berlin.

Anne works in moral and political philosophy, but also applied ethics and social ontology on a wide range of topics such as collective action and responsibility, political violence, in particular terrorism, as well as climate change and renewable energies.

Her current projects include a book on Collective Moral Obligations (to be completed in 2017). In this book, she develops a novel theory of collective moral obligations: obligations of individual moral agents to act together with others. In doing so, this book fills a non-trivial gap in moral theory. Traditionally, ethics has focused on examining the morality of discrete individuals’ actions, but does not shed much light on situations in which we act or need to act together with others. However, in today’s world individually inconsequential actions can increasingly form part of morally significant collective actions. Our economic, political, private decisions may – taken together with many other similar actions – have substantial impacts on other people’s lives. Instead of just asking “what ought I to do?” we must also answer the question “what ought we to do”?