Practical responsibility

The recognition of the close relation between the concept of action and the concept of responsibility goes at least as far back as Aristotle. His account of voluntary action could be seen as being the source of two general strategies for understanding the concept of action.1 One such approach is to determine when something is not an action first by studying a variety of interfering conditions. (e) The agent’s ϕing was a mere happening (non-action) iff external forces caused him to ϕ. But Aristotle described those cases as ones where the principle of action is not in the agent,2 generating what might be thought of as a corresponding picture of what it means for a performance to be an action.
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