Moral problems such as climate change and global poverty result from widespread human action, and hence, are unaffected by changes in any individual's behavior—for instance, the harms of climate change will obtain whether I drive my car or not. This problem of causal impotence seems potentially devastating for consequentialists, but more easily addressed by deontologists. The deontologist can argue that (e.g.) even if our acts will have no effect on climate change, our using fossil fuels makes us complicit in, and hence, blameworthy for, these wrongs. We argue that, despite initial appearances, appeals to complicity do not extricate deontologists from this problem. When our actions do not make a difference, we cannot be held responsible for being complicit in wrongs such as climate change and global poverty. As a result, we conclude that the problem of causal impotence is as vexing for deontologists as it is for consequentialists.

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