In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 235-248 (2018)

Authors
Mark Alfano
Macquarie University
Abstract
Strawson argues that we should understand moral responsibility in terms of our practices of holding responsible and taking responsibility. The former covers what is commonly referred to as backward-looking responsibility, while the latter covers what is commonly referred to as forward-looking responsibility. We consider new technologies and interventions that facilitate assignment of responsibility. Assigning responsibility is best understood as the second- or third-personal analog of taking responsibility. It establishes forward-looking responsibility. But unlike taking responsibility, it establishes forward-looking responsibility in someone else. When such assignments are accepted, they function in such a way that those to whom responsibility has been assigned face the same obligations and are susceptible to the same reactive attitudes as someone who takes responsibility. One family of interventions interests us in particular: nudges. We contend that many instances of nudging tacitly assign responsibility to nudgees for actions, values, and relationships that they might not otherwise have taken responsibility for. To the extent that nudgees tacitly accept such assignments, they become responsible for upholding norms that would otherwise have fallen under the purview of other actors. While this may be empowering in some cases, it can also function in such a way that it burdens people with more responsibility that they can manage.
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DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-93907-0_19
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