If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


I'm currently an AHRC NWCDTP-funded Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Philosophy, School of Social Sciences at The University of Manchester, United Kingdom, conducting my doctoral research in Applied Ethics and African Philosophy entitled 'Conceptualizing Individual Moral Obligation: A Case for Collectively Insignificant Outcomes'. My research seeks to address the problem of collective impact — inconsequentialism — vis-à-vis climate change, political participation, and related collective action problems. I double as a Research Associate at the Decoloniality Research Group at the University of Pretoria, South Africa; and a member of the elite Conversational School of Philosophy (CSP), Calabar, Nigeria. 

Research interests

My current research interests centre on Applied Ethics, Moral Philosophy, African Philosophy, Poverty and Inequality, Conversational Philosophy, and Social and Political Philosophy. 

Research interests

Current Research

Increasingly in developing countries, in recent years, there has been a growing sense of moral resignation by individuals to act in morally relevant ways because of the general feeling that their singular positive acts cannot make a difference—collectively. Issues concerning collectively insignificant actions – and their outcomes – and individual moral responsibility for resolving them are of global concern. The idea that as individuals, our choices and actions have little to no effect on the general scheme of things particularly in changing the status quo is responsible for many moral derelictions in our world today which have had many negative effects on the human and non-human environment. This is the problem of inconsequentialism. This problem – what I prefer to call the ‘problem of collectively insignificant outcomes’ – is most visible in the areas of climate change/climate action, political participation, respect for established institutions, and related collective impact cases. My doctoral research seeks to address the problem of collective impact — inconsequentialism — vis-à-vis climate change, political participation, and related collective action problems.

Julia Nefsky (2017: 2744) articulates an insightful case of collectively insignificant actions as ‘the problem of collective harm’ or “the problem of collective impact,” and the cases of collectively insignificant actions as “collective impact cases.” The issue in collective harm cases captures “the risk of our together bringing about avoidable harm” (Nefsky 2019: 10) by taking a morally harmful course of action or refusing to act in a morally relevant way because of the belief that collectively, our singular good acts will make no difference. This view can also be referred to as the no-effect view. To Nefsky, this way of thinking about the problem stems from a mistaken assumption of the causal insignificance of individual actions.

My research argues, contra Nefsky and extant accounts of collective harm problems, that the ‘problem of collective harm’ goes beyond a mistaken assumption to reveal a poor conceptualisation of individual obligation to act in morally relevant ways, regardless of collectively insignificant outcomes. It aims to establish among other things, why the overriding principle for collectively insignificant actions can best be motivated by an individual moral obligation – IMO – conceptualised as a ‘non-collective fundamental duty’ necessary for the common good. The idea of the common good here is conceptualised and introduced as a distinctively African contribution to the discourse on moral duties/obligations. In the context and within the scope of my research, I use IMO in a sense similar to Stephanie Collins’ (2019: 945) usage to denote responsibility for the collectively harmful impact of a 'random collection' of the human species. Most importantly, this research brings the distinctive perspective of African conceptions of moral obligation as a possible solution to motivating action for the problem of climate change, political participation, and related collective harm problems. 


Supervision information

Thesis Supervisors: 

Prof. John O’Neill
Prof. Christopher Daly

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, Philosophy, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. Dissertation: 'The Moral Implications of Odera Oruka’s ‘Human Minimum’ for Africa’s Fight Against Extreme Poverty' (Supervised by Prof Jonathan O. Chimakonam)

Award Date: 5 Sept 2023

Bachelor of Arts, Honours (with Distinction), University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. Mini-Dissertaion: 'The Paradox of Ambivalent Human Interest in Innocent Asouzu's Complementary Ethics' (Supervised by Prof Jonathan O. Chimakonam)

Award Date: 4 May 2022

Bachelor of Arts, (First Class Honours), University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.

Award Date: 23 Feb 2017

External positions

Research Assistant, University of Pretoria

26 Jun 202330 Sept 2023

Postgraduate Representative, University of Pretoria

1 Jan 20235 Sept 2023

Research Intern, Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI)

1 Dec 20226 Jan 2023

Teaching Assistant, University of Pretoria

23 Aug 202130 Nov 2021

Assistant Lecturer, University of Calabar

7 Jan 202015 Sept 2023

Coordinator and Publicist, Poets in Nigeria (PIN)

Jan 2016Dec 2017

Founder/Executive Director, Responsive Education Movement

Jan 2014Aug 2023

Areas of expertise

  • BJ Ethics
  • Applied Ethics
  • Moral values
  • African Studies
  • Poverty Studies
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Environmental ethics

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


  • Climate Change
  • climate change politics
  • Sustainability
  • Collective Impact Initiatives
  • Politics
  • Inequalities
  • African Politics
  • Moral Reasoning


Dive into the research topics where Patrick Ben is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or