The Physiognomy of Responsibility


Authors
Neal Tognazzini
Western Washington University
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.
Keywords attributability  accountability  moral responsibility  Gary Watson
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2010.00458.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

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.
Responsibility.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 4592-4602.

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