The Physiognomy of Responsibility

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):381-417 (2011)
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Abstract

Our aim in this paper is to put the concept of moral responsibility under a microscope. At the lowest level of magnification, it appears unified. But Gary Watson has taught us that if we zoom in, we will find that moral responsibility has two faces: attributability and accountability. Or, to describe the two faces in different terms, there is a difference between being responsible and holding responsible. It is one thing to talk about the connection the agent has with her action; it is quite another to talk about the potential interaction the agent might have with her moral community. It turns out, though, that the faces of moral responsibility can themselves be viewed under an even higher level of magnification. If moral responsibility has two faces, then our aim in this paper is to examine their features. To do so reveals subtle distinctions in our concept of moral responsibility and its interaction with surrounding issues that, we argue, can help illuminate various debates in the literature.

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Author Profiles

Neal Tognazzini
Western Washington University
John Fischer
University of California, Riverside

Citations of this work

Free will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Responsibility as Answerability.Angela M. Smith - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (2):99-126.
The Real Myth of Coherence.Wooram Lee - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1211-1230.
Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):165-183.

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References found in this work

Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Moral dimensions: permissibility, meaning, blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Mortal questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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