David Shoemaker presents a new pluralistic theory of responsibility, based on the idea of quality of will. His approach is motivated by our ambivalence to real-life cases of marginal agency, such as those caused by clinical depression, dementia, scrupulosity, psychopathy, autism, intellectual disability, and poor formative circumstances. Our ambivalent responses suggest that such agents are responsible in some ways but not others. Shoemaker develops a theory to account for our ambivalence, via close examination of several categories of pancultural emotional (...)responsibility responses and their appropriateness conditions. The result is three distinct types of responsibility, each with its own set of required capacities: attributability, answerability, and accountability. Attributability is about the having and expressing of various traits of character, and it is the target of a range of aretaic sentiments and emotional practices organized around disdain and admiration. Answerability is about one’s capacity to govern one’s actions and attitudes by one’s evaluative judgments about the worth of various practical reasons, and it is the target of a range of sentiments and emotional practices organized around regret and pride. Accountability is about one’s ability to regard others, both evaluatively and emotionally, and it is the target of a range of sentiments and emotional practices organized around anger and gratitude. In Part One of the book, this tripartite theory is developed and defended. In Part Two of the book, the tripartite theory’s predictions about specific marginal cases are tested, once certain empirical details about the nature of those agents have been filled in and discussed. (shrink)
R. Jay Wallace argues in this book that moral accountability hinges on questions of fairness: When is it fair to hold people morally responsible for what they do? Would it be fair to do so even in a deterministic world? To answer these questions, we need to understand what we are doing when we hold people morally responsible, a stance that Wallace connects with a central class of moral sentiments, those of resentment, indignation, and guilt. To hold someone responsible, he (...) argues, is to be subject to these reactive emotions in one's dealings with that person. Developing this theme with unusual sophistication, he offers a new interpretation of the reactive emotions and traces their role in our practices of blame and moral sanction. With this account in place, Wallace advances a powerful and sustained argument against the common view that accountability requires freedom of will. Instead, he maintains, the fairness of holding people responsible depends on their rational competence: the power to grasp moral reasons and to control their behavior accordingly. He shows how these forms of rational competence are compatible with determinism. At the same time, giving serious consideration to incompatibilist concerns, Wallace develops a compelling diagnosis of the common assumption that freedom is necessary for responsibility. Rigorously argued, eminently readable, this book touches on issues of broad concern to philosophers, legal theorists, political scientists, and anyone with an interest in the nature and limits of responsibility. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive, systematic theory of moral responsibility. The authors explore the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions. The leading idea in the book is that moral responsibility is based on 'guidance control'. This control has two components: the mechanism that issues in the relevant behavior must be the agent's own mechanism, and it must be appropriately responsive to reasons. The book develops an account of both components. The authors (...) go on to offer a sustained defense of the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism. (shrink)
Philosophers have long agreed that moral responsibility might not only have a freedom condition, but also an epistemic condition. Moral responsibility and knowledge interact, but the question is exactly how. Ignorance might constitute an excuse, but the question is exactly when. Surprisingly enough, the epistemic condition has only recently attracted the attention of scholars, and it is high time for a full volume on the topic. The chapters in this volume address the following central questions. Does the epistemic (...) condition require akrasia? Why does blameless ignorance excuse? Does moral ignorance sustained by one’s culture excuse? Does the epistemic condition involve knowledge of the wrongness or wrongmaking features of one’s action? Is the epistemic condition an independent condition, or is it derivative from one’s quality of will or intentions? Is the epistemic condition sensitive to degrees of difficulty? Are there different kinds of moral responsibility and thus multiple epistemic conditions? Is the epistemic condition revisionary? What is the basic structure of the epistemic condition? (shrink)
Each of the books that Hannah Arendt published in her lifetime was unique, and to this day each continues to provoke fresh thought and interpretations. This was never more true than for Eichmann in Jerusalem, her account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, where she first used the phrase “the banality of evil.” Her consternation over how a man who was neither a monster nor a demon could nevertheless be an agent of the most extreme evil evoked derision, outrage, and (...) misunderstanding. The firestorm of controversy prompted Arendt to readdress fundamental questions and concerns about the nature of evil and the making of moral choices. Responsibility and Judgment gathers together unpublished writings from the last decade of Arendt’s life, as she struggled to explicate the meaning of Eichmann in Jerusalem. At the heart of this book is a profound ethical investigation, “Some Questions of Moral Philosophy”; in it Arendt confronts the inadequacy of traditional moral “truths” as standards to judge what we are capable of doing, and she examines anew our ability to distinguish good from evil and right from wrong. We see how Arendt comes to understand that alongside the radical evil she had addressed in earlier analyses of totalitarianism, there exists a more pernicious evil, independent of political ideology, whose execution is limitless when the perpetrator feels no remorse and can forget his acts as soon as they are committed. Responsibility and Judgment is an essential work for understanding Arendt’s conception of morality; it is also an indispensable investigation into some of the most troubling and important issues of our time. (shrink)
This book develops and defends a theory of responsible belief. The author argues that we lack control over our beliefs, but that we can nonetheless influence them. It is because we have intellectual obligations to influence our beliefs that we are responsible for them.
In this book, the author examines the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence systems as they integrate and replace traditional social structures in new sociocognitive-technological environments. She discusses issues related to the integrity of researchers, technologists, and manufacturers as they design, construct, use, and manage artificially intelligent systems; formalisms for reasoning about moral decisions as part of the behavior of artificial autonomous systems such as agents and robots; and design methodologies for social agents based on societal, moral, and legal values. Throughout (...) the book the author discusses related work, conscious of both classical, philosophical treatments of ethical issues and the implications in modern, algorithmic systems, and she combines regular references and footnotes with suggestions for further reading. This short overview is suitable for undergraduate students, in both technical and non-technical courses, and for interested and concerned researchers, practitioners, and citizens. (shrink)
What is a fair distribution of resources and other goods when individuals are partly responsible for their achievements? This book develops a theory of fairness incorporating a concern for personal responsibility, opportunities and freedom. With a critical perspective, it makes accessible the recent developments in economics and philosophy that define social justice in terms of equal opportunities. It also proposes new perspectives and original ideas. The book separates mathematical sections from the rest of the text, so that the main (...) concepts and ideas are easily accessible to non-technical readers. -/- It is often thought that responsibility is a complex notion, but this monograph proposes a simple analytical framework that makes it possible to disentangle the different concepts of fairness that deal with neutralizing inequalities for which the individuals are not held responsible, rewarding their effort, respecting their choices, or staying neutral with respect to their responsibility sphere. It dwells on paradoxes and impossibilities only as a way to highlight important ethical options and always proposes solutions and reasonable compromises among the conflicting values surrounding equality and responsibility. -/- The theory is able to incorporate disincentive problems and is illustrated in the examination of applied policy issues such as: income redistribution when individuals may be held responsible for their choices of labor supply or education; social and private insurance when individuals may be held responsible for their risky lifestyle; second chance policies; the measurement of inequality of opportunities and social mobility. (shrink)
[This download includes the table of contents and chapter 1.] -/- When we praise, blame, punish, or reward people for their actions, we are holding them responsible for what they have done. Common sense tells us that what makes human beings responsible has to do with their minds and, in particular, the relationship between their minds and their actions. Yet the empirical connection is not necessarily obvious. The “guilty mind” is a core concept of criminal law, but if a defendant (...) on trial for murder were found to have serious brain damage, which brain parts or processes would have to be damaged for him to be considered not responsible, or less responsible, for the crime? The authors argue that evidence from neuroscience and the other cognitive sciences can illuminate the nature of responsibility and agency. They go on to offer a novel and comprehensive neuroscientific theory of human responsibility. (shrink)
According to how we treat others, we acquire merit or guilt, deserve praise or blame, and receive reward or punishment, looking in the end for atonement. In this study distinguished theological philosopher Richard Swinburne examines how these moral concepts apply to humans in their dealings with each other, and analyzes these findings, determining which versions of traditional Christian doctrines--sin and original sin, redemption, sanctification, and heaven and hell--are considered morally acceptable.
Introduction: The metaphysics of responsibility and philosophy of education -- Moral responsibility, authenticity, and the problem of manipulation -- A novel perspective on the problem of authenticity -- Forward-looking authenticity in the internalism/externalism debate -- Authentic education, indoctrination, and moral responsibility -- Moral responsibility, hard incompatibilism, and interpersonal relationships -- On the significance of moral responsibility and love -- Love, commendability, and moral obligation -- Love, determinism, and normative education.
Scientific research and ethics -- Ethical theory and decision making -- Data acquisition and management -- Mentoring and professional relationship -- Collaboration in research -- Authorship -- Publication and peer review -- Misconduct in research -- Intellectual property -- Conflicts of interest and scientific objectivity -- The use of animals in research -- The use of human subjects in research -- The use of vulnerable subjects in research -- Genetics, cloning, and stem cell research -- International research.
Are individuals responsible for the consequences of actions taken by their community? What about their community's inaction or its attitudes? In this innovative book, Larry May departs from the traditional Western view that moral responsibility is limited to the consequences of overt individual action. Drawing on the insights of Arendt, Jaspers, and Sartre, he argues that even when individuals are not direct participants, they share responsibility for various harms perpetrated by their communities.
The world we live in is unjust. Preventable deprivation and suffering shape the lives of many people, while others enjoy advantages and privileges aplenty. Cosmopolitan responsibility addresses the moral responsibilities of privileged individuals to take action in the face of global structural injustice. Individuals are called upon to complement institutional efforts to respond to global challenges, such as climate change, unfair global trade, or world poverty. Committed to an ideal of relational equality among all human beings, the book discusses (...) the impact of individual action, the challenge of special obligations, and the possibility of moral overdemandingness in order to lay the ground for an action-guiding ethos of cosmopolitan responsibility. This thought-provoking book will be of interest to any reflective reader concerned about justice and responsibilities in a globalised world. Jan-Christoph Heilinger is a moral and political philosopher. He teaches at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany, and at Ecole normale supérieure, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (shrink)
Introduction -- What is personal responsibility? -- Ordinary language -- Common conceptions -- What do philosophers mean by responsibility? -- Personally responsible for what? -- What do philosophers think? part I -- Causes -- Capacity -- Control -- Choice versus brute luck -- Second-order attitudes -- Equality of opportunity -- Deservingness -- Reasonableness -- Reciprocity -- Equal shares -- Combining criteria -- What do philosophers think? part II -- Utility -- Self-respect -- Autonomy -- Human flourishing -- Natural (...) duties and special obligations -- A matter of perspectives -- Combining values -- What do politicians think? -- A brief typology -- International comparisons -- Welfare reform -- Healthcare reform -- Rights and responsibilities -- On the responsibilities of politicians -- What do ordinary people think? -- Why ask? -- Attitudes to welfare claimants -- When push comes to shove -- Perceptions and reality -- Further international comparisons -- The trouble with opinion surveys -- Four contemporary issues in focus -- Unemployment -- Health -- Drug abuse -- Personal debt and financial rewards -- So how do we decide? -- Getting the public involved -- Citizens juries -- Answering some potential criticisms. (shrink)
Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is a governance framework promoted by influential policy makers such as the European Commission and academics from the fields of science and technology studies and management. This book is the first text to serve industry. Inspired by existing Corporate Responsibility standards and principles, it offers a selection of tools that can assist practitioners in implementing RRI in business and industry. -/- Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is integrative. It is a convergence of Technology Assessment (...) (TA) and Ethics, including corporate responsibility. The task of linking RRI to existing frameworks has only just begun. This book is a welcome example, showing how Corporate Responsibility tools can drive the implementation of RRI. Prof. Armin Grunwald, Head of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag and Head of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. -/- This is a simple, short, yet encyclopaedic work designed to help business implement RRI using the many tools of Corporate Responsibility (CR) already in place, everything from ISO9001 to the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. It makes clear the ways in which RRI is an extension of ideas already well-developed in CR. I learned a lot reading it. Prof. Michael Davis, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA. (shrink)
Can we respond to injustices in the world in ways that do more than just address their consequences? In this book, Brooke A. Ackerly argues that what to do about injustice is not just an ethical or moral question, but a political question about assuming responsibility for injustice. Ultimately, Just Responsibility offers a theory of global injustice and political responsibility that can guide action.
Responsibility for Human Rights provides an original theoretical analysis of which global actors are responsible for human rights, and why. It does this through an evaluation of the different reasons according to which such responsibilities might be assigned: legalism, universalism, capacity and publicness. The book marshals various arguments that speak in favour of and against assigning 'responsibility for human rights' to any state or non-state actor. At the same time, it remains grounded in an incisive interpretation of the (...) world we actually live in today, including: the relationship between sovereignty and human rights, recent events in 'business and human rights' practice, and key empirical examples of human rights violations by companies. David Karp argues that relevantly public actors have specific human rights responsibility. However, states can be less public, and non-state actors can be more public, than might seem apparent at first glance. (shrink)
In this book Michael McKenna advances a new theory of moral responsibility, one that builds upon the work of P. F. Strawson. As McKenna demonstrates, moral responsibility can be explained on analogy with a conversation. The relation between a morally responsible agent and those who hold her morally responsible is similar to the relation between a speaker and her audience. A responsible agent's actions are bearers of meaning--agent meaning--just as a speaker's utterances are bearers of speaker meaning. Agent (...) meaning is a function of the moral quality of the will with which the agent acts. Those who hold an agent morally responsible for what she does do so by responding to her as if in a conversation. By responding with certain morally reactive attitudes, such as resentment or indignation, they thereby communicate their regard for the meaning taken to be revealed in that agent's actions. It is then open for the agent held responsible to respond to those holding her responsible by offering an apology, a justification, an excuse, or some other response, thereby extending the evolving conversational exchange.The conversational theory of moral responsibility that McKenna develops here accepts two features of Strawson's theory: that moral responsibility is essentially interpersonal--so that being responsible must be understood by reference to the nature of holding responsible--and that the moral emotions are central to holding responsible. While upholding these two aspects of Strawson's theory, McKenna's theory rejects a further Strawsonian thesis, which is that holding morally responsible is more fundamental or basic than being morally responsible. On the conversational theory, the conditions for holding responsible are dependent on the nature of the agent who is responsible. So holding responsible cannot be more basic than being responsible. Nevertheless, the nature of the agent who is morally responsible is to be understood in terms of sensitivity to those who would make moral demands of her, thereby holding her responsible. Being responsible is therefore also dependent on holding responsible. Thus, neither being nor holding morally responsible is more basic than the other. They are mutually dependent. (shrink)
This volume of original essays addresses a range of issues concerning the responsibility individuals have for their actions and for their characters. Among the central questions considered are the following: What scope is there for regarding a person as responsible for his or her character given genetic and environmental factors? Does an account of responsibility provide a legitimate basis for the retributive emotions? Are we ever justified in feeling guilty for occurences over which we have no control? Does (...)responsibility for the consequences of our acts require that they were intended or simply expected? How have a number of influential previous philosophers, including Aristotle, Maimonides, and Spinoza, approached these questions? (shrink)
The Handbook constitutes a global resource for the fast growing interdisciplinary research and policy communities addressing the challenge of driving innovation towards socially desirable outcomes. This book brings together well-known authors from the US, Europe, Asia and South-Africa who develop conceptual and regional perspectives on responsible innovation as well as exploring the prospects for further implementation of responsible innovation in emerging technological practices ranging from agriculture and medicine, to nanotechnology and robotics. The emphasis is on the socio-economic and normative dimensions (...) of innovation including issues of social risk and sustainability. (shrink)
This chapter outlines the main ideas of my book National responsibility and global justice. It begins with two widely held but conflicting intuitions about what global justice might mean on the one hand, and what it means to be a member of a national community on the other. The first intuition tells us that global inequalities of the magnitude that currently exist are radically unjust, while the second intuition tells us that inequalities are both unavoidable and fair once national (...)responsibility is allowed to operate. This conflict might be resolved either by adopting a cosmopolitan theory of justice (which leaves no room for national responsibility) or by adopting a ?political? theory of justice (which denies that questions of distributive justice can arise beyond the walls of the sovereign state). Since neither resolution is satisfactory, the chapter defends the idea of national responsibility and proposes a new theory of global justice, whose main elements are the protection of basic human rights worldwide, and fair terms of interaction between independent political communities. (shrink)
What is the significance of hermeneutics at the intersections of ethics, politics and the arts and humanities? In this book, George -/- - Discusses how hermeneutics offers ways to develop an ethics - Makes the case for the relevance of contemporary hermeneutics for current scholarly discussions of responsibility within continental European philosophy - Contributes a new, ethically inflected approach to current debate within post-Gadamerian hermeneutics - Extends his analysis to the practice of living and covers animals, art, literature and (...) translation -/- Few topics have received broader attention within contemporary philosophy than that of responsibility. Theodore George makes a novel case for a distinctive sense of responsibility at stake in the hermeneutical experiences of understanding and interpretation. -/- George argues for the significance of this hermeneutical responsibility in the context of our relations with things, animals and others, as well as political solidarity and the formation of solidarities through the arts, literature and translation. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility is a tortured concept. We review the current state of the art across a number of academic disciplines, from accounting to management to theology. In a world that is increasingly global and pluralistic, progress in our understanding of CSR must include theorizing around the micro-level processes practicing managers engage in when allocating resources toward social initiatives, as well as refined measurement of the outcomes of those initiatives on stakeholder and shareholder interests. Scholarship must also account for (...) the influence of diverse, and even mal-adaptive, stakeholders as well as more fully incorporate non-Western philosophical and economic perspectives. Based on this review, we pose five questions that scholars from each of these disciplines should address as the CSR field moves forward. We hope our questions provoke deeper thinking and greater rigor and attention to detail in this important area of business research. (shrink)
In this lively and accessible book, Matt Matravers considers the highly contested role of responsibility in politics, morality, and the law. He asks, what are we doing when we hold people responsible in deciding questions of distributive justice or of punishment? and considers the role of philosophy in answering this very contemporary question.
In her long-awaited Responsibility for Justice, Young discusses our responsibilities to address "structural" injustices in which we among many are implicated, often by virtue of participating in a market, such as buying goods produced in sweatshops, or participating in booming housing markets that leave many homeless.
Most people would agree that a small child, or a cognitively impaired adult, is less responsible for their actions, good or bad, than an unimpaired adult. But how do we explain that difference, and how far can anyone be praised or blamed for what they have done? In this fascinating introduction, Matthew Talbert explores some of the key questions shaping current debates about moral responsibility, including: What is free will, and is it required for moral responsibility? Are we (...) responsible for the unforeseen consequences of our actions? Is it fair to blame people for doing what they believe is right? And are psychopaths open to blame? As Talbert argues, we are morally responsible for our actions when they are related to us in particular ways: when our actions express our true selves, for example, or when we exercise certain kinds of control over them. It is because we bear these relationships to our actions that we are open to praise and blame. _Moral Responsibility_ will be an important resource for students and researchers in ethics, moral psychology, and philosophy of agency and of great interest to all those wishing to understand an important aspect of our moral practices. (shrink)
In Intricate Ethics, Kamm questions the moral importance of some non-consequentialist distinctions and then introduces and argues for the moral importance of other distinctions. The first section discusses nonconsequentialist ethical theory and the trolley problem; the second deals with the notions of moral status and rights; the third takes up the issues of responsibility and complicity and the possible moral significance of distance; and the fourth section analyzes the views of others in the non-consequentialist and consequentialist camps.
This superbly crafted account of the notion of moral responsibility and of its relations to freedom, control, ignorance, negligence, attempts, omissions, compulsion, mental disorders, virtues and vices, desert, and punishment fills that gap. The treatment of character and luck is particularly sophisticated and well-argued.
Should parents aim to make their children as normal as possible to increase their chances to “fit in”? Are neurological and mental health conditions a part of children’s identity and if so, should parents aim to remove or treat these? Should they aim to instill self-control in their children? Should prospective parents take steps to insure that, of all the children they could have, they choose the ones with the best likely start in life? -/- This volume explores all of (...) these questions and more. Against the background of recent findings and expected advances in neuroscience and genetics, the extent and limits of parental responsibility are increasingly unclear. Awareness of the effects of parental choices on children’s wellbeing, as well as evolving norms about the moral status of children, have further increased expectations from (prospective) parents to take up and act on their changing responsibilities. -/- The contributors discuss conceptual issues such as the meaning and sources of moral responsibility, normality, treatment, and identity. They also explore more practical issues such as how responsibility for children is practiced in Yoruba culture in Nigeria or how parents and health professionals in Belgium perceive the dilemmas generated by prenatal diagnosis. (shrink)
Assuming that an agent can be morally responsible for her forgetting to do something, we can use recent psychological research on prospective memory to assess the psychological assumptions made by normative accounts of the moral responsibility for forgetting. Two accounts of moral responsibility have been prominent in recent debates about the degree to which agents are blameworthy for their unwitting omissions. This paper highlights the psychological assumptions concerning remembering and forgetting that characterise the accounts. The paper then introduces (...) and reviews recent empirical literature on prospective memory. Finally, it uses the literature to assess the various assumptions. One important implication is that a direct capacitarian control account implies implausible assumptions about the psychological capacity for remembering. A second important implication is that an indirect capacitarian control account and a valuative account highlight different but complementary aspects of remembering and forgetting. (shrink)
The self is not a metaphysical object but a mode of temporal organization unified by responsibility. Learning to be responsible constitutes the self as a self-identical entity over time. Responsibility depends on the current self interpreting previous events, attributing them to itself and thereby committing itself for the future. (2004) .
The purpose of this book is to formulate a way of thinking about issues of power, moral identity, and ethical norms by developing a theory of responsibility from a specifically theological viewpoint; the author thereby makes clear the significance for Christian commitment of current reflection on moral responsibility. The concept of responsibility is relatively new in ethics, but the drastic extension of human power through various technological developments has lately thrown into question the way human beings conceive (...) of themselves as morally accountable agents. It is this radical extension of power in our time which poses the need for a new paradigm of responsibility in ethics. Schweiker engages in an informed way with what is therefore a highly topical discussion. By developing a coherent theory of responsibility, and inquiring as to its source, the author demonstrates the unique contribution of Christian faith to ethics in our time. (shrink)
Response to Don Baxter, Don Garrett and Jennifer Marusic regarding my book Imagined Causes: Hume's Conception of Objects; initially delivered at the 2016 Hume Conference in Sydney, Australia as part of the Author Meets Critics session.
_Man's Responsibility for Nature_ is a book by John Passmore, a presumably able-bodied, presumably heterosexual, presumably a male white settler Australian philosopher, and his conception of Western history's ideas about human's (white man's) relationship to nature [not with] (predominately looking at USA, that is, colonial Turtle Island) and their (white man's, not white woman's unless you think white men can talk for the universal us?) place in it. Part 1 talks about the evolution of this conception beginning with the (...) idea that "Man is Despot", that is, relates to nature as if nature is another subject for use and exploitation. This self conception of man as the master of the world, demands he must dominate as manliness, as prescribed by Western religions. Chapter two considers changes to this man is despot conception, through expounding USA hegemonic luminaries who influence thoughts and decisions about the use, conservation, and exploitation of nature, as the beginnings of "Stewardship and Co-operation with nature", such as restricting the pillage of Turtle Island (North America) and for example establishing national parks, and the Sierra Club etc. Part Two describes four ecological problems as Passmore sees it: Pollution; Conservation; Preservation; Multiplication. i might continue when i've finished reading. :) But, in the meantime Part 3 reconsiders The Traditions, that is, Man as Despot, or Stewards to end with a final Chapter called Removing the Rubbish. Hmmm, curious? (shrink)
If climate change represents a severe threat to humankind, why then is response to it characterized by inaction at all levels? The authors argue there are two complementary explanations for the lack of motivation. First, our moral judgment system appears to be unable to identify climate change as an important moral problem and there are pervasive doubts about the agency of individuals. This explanation, however, is incomplete: Individual emitters can effectively be held morally responsible for their luxury emissions. Second, doubts (...) about individual agency have become overly emphasized and fail to convincingly exonerate individuals from responsibility. This book extends the second explanation for the motivational gap, namely that the arguments for the lack of individual agency do in fact correspond to mechanisms of moral disengagement. The use of these mechanisms enables consumption elites to maintain their consumptive lifestyles without having to accept moral responsibility for their luxury emissions. (shrink)
In Western countries a considerable number of older people move to a residential home when their health declines. Institutionalization often results in increased dependence, inactivity and loss of identity or self-worth (dignity). This raises the moral question as to how older, institutionalized people can remain autonomous as far as continuing to live in line with their own values is concerned. Following Walker's meta-ethical framework on the assignment of responsibilities, we suggest that instead of directing all older people towards more autonomy (...) in terms of independence, professional caregivers should listen to the life narrative of older people and attempt to find out how their personal identity, relations and values in life can be continued in the new setting. If mutual normative expectations between caregivers and older people are not carefully negotiated, it creates tension. This tension is illustrated by the narrative of Mr Powell, a retired successful public servant now living in a residential home. The narrative describes his current life, his need for help, his independent frame of mind, and his encounters with institutional and professional policies. Mr Powell sees himself as a man who has always cared for himself and others, and who still feels that he has to fulfil certain duties in life. Mr Powell's story shows that he is not always understood well by caregivers who respond from a one-sided view of autonomy as independence. This leads to misunderstanding and an underestimation of his need to be noticed and involved in the residential community. (shrink)
This article offers an account of the responsibility that individuals bear by virtue of their national belonging alone. Via their national pride, the living connect themselves actively with select actions performed by others who might long be dead. They imagine themselves as having won past wars, built ancient empires and the like. This same feat of their imagination imposes on them a responsibility for the bad outcomes that were brought about through their imagined exploits. Their national responsibility (...) for the "sins of the fathers" however lends itself only to the kinds of responses that these living agents can demand of themselves. While their national responsibility can be captured by either the vocabulary of guilt or that of shame, the latter turns out to be more promising as it better accounts for the strong hold that the national idea has on contemporary political thinking. (shrink)