Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Andrew I. Cohen

Second Advisor

Sandra Dwyer


In this paper I argue that Robin Zheng’s model of accountability, the Role Ideal Model (RIM), overlooks an important distinction. It is not simply “inhabiting that role” that justifies extra reparative burdens for any person. Instead, a person may acquire such burdens only by electing to inhabit that role. I critically assess Zheng’s RIM first by offering a friendly amendment to her theory. I highlight a distinction between opt-in roles and what I will call non-voluntary roles. This difference motivates my second point that the RIM can only justify higher claims for redress against those inhabiting opted-in roles, not against those in non-voluntary roles. Whether we opt into a role has normative significance in how we prioritize our “push[ing] of the boundaries” within those roles and what kinds of claims others may make against us (Zheng 877).


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