Higher Sem in Practical Philosophy: Mattias Gunnemyr "Shareholder Complicity"
Mattias Gunnemyr (Lu/GU) will give a self-contained presentation at the Higher Seminar in practical philosophy entitled
Abstract. Might holding shares in a company make you complicit in company wrongdoing? The paper argues it can, using Lepora and Goodin’s (2013) account of complicity and focusing on companies contributing to climate change or biodiversity loss. Their account defines complicity as knowingly contributing to a principal’s wrongdoing and implies that shareholders are complicit in company wrongdoing. However, the account is unreliable. It says that you contribute to wrongdoing if and only if there is a nearby possible world where your act makes a difference to whether principal wrongdoing occurs. Thereby, it inaccurately entails that you are complicit if you knowingly could have invested in a company that could have acted wrongly. The author suggests an account of contributions that avoids this problem. On this account, you contribute to company wrongdoing if and only if (i) there is a nearby possible world where your act makes a difference to the occurrence of principal wrongdoing and (ii) your act is causally connected to this wrongdoing. This more accurate account still entails that shareholders might be complicit in company wrongdoing. Finally, the paper argues that reasons not to be complicit might outweigh reasons to invest and use the surplus profit to do good.