Responsibility as Answerability

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (2):99-126 (2015)
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ABSTRACTIt has recently become fashionable among those who write on questions of moral responsibility to distinguish two different concepts, or senses, of moral responsibility via the labels ‘responsibility as attributability’ and ‘responsibility as accountability’. Gary Watson was perhaps the first to introduce this distinction in his influential 1996 article ‘Two Faces of Responsibility’ , but it has since been taken up by many other philosophers. My aim in this study is to raise some questions and doubts about this distinction and to argue that it has led to confusion rather than clarification in debates over moral responsibility. In place of the attributability/accountability distinction, I propose that there is a single concept of moral responsibility underlying our actual moral practices. This core notion of moral responsibility, which I call ‘responsibility as answerability’, is well positioned to explain thos..



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Angela Smith
Washington and Lee University

Citations of this work

What is Epistemic Blame?Jessica Brown - 2018 - Noûs 54 (2):389-407.
Artificial intelligence and responsibility gaps: what is the problem?Peter Königs - 2022 - Ethics and Information Technology 24 (3):1-11.
Attributionist Theories of Moral Responsibility.Matthew Talbert - 2022 - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 50-70.

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.R. Jay Wallace - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Freedom Within Reason.Susan R. Wolf - 1990 - New York: Oup Usa.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1982 - In Gary Watson (ed.), Free will. New York: Oxford University Press.
1. Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1993 - In John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.), Perspectives on moral responsibility. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. pp. 1-25.

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