Personal Responsibility Essay Introduction

Personal Responsibility Essay Introduction-8
At the end of the nineteenth century, the most notable thinker to speak of responsibility is Max Weber, who propounds an ethics of responsibility () for the politician.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the most notable thinker to speak of responsibility is Max Weber, who propounds an ethics of responsibility () for the politician.

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It also enables us to relate responsibility to its original philosophical use, which was in political thought. It is also, as Paul Ricoeur has observed, "not really well-established within the philosophical tradition" (2000: 11).

This is reflected in the fact that we can locate two rather different philosophical approaches to responsibility.

We can see this by observing that both questions might mean something quite different, leading us to four distinct topics, as follows: is most often asked by philosophers as a question about the foundations of moral agency.

What sort of creature can properly be held responsible for its actions? To explain and justify this reply, philosophers tend to turn to psychological and metaphysical features of normal adults, such as free will. We often praise some people as responsible, and criticize others as irresponsible.

Nor does a concern with free will correspond to many everyday issues about responsibility – for example, questions of mutual accountability, defining a person’s sphere of responsibility, or judging a person as sufficiently responsible for a particular role.

This Encyclopedia article will mainly deal with the responsibility of individual persons; another article considers collective moral responsibility.

So far as responsibility has a place in eighteenth and nineteenth century thought, then, this is in political contexts, where the concern is with responsible action and the principles of representative government.

In twentieth century philosophy, on the other hand, the emphasis has been on questions of free will and determinism: Is a person responsible for her actions or character?

There is no philosophically well-settled way of dividing or analyzing the various components of responsibility, and some components are often ignored by philosophers.

To take a more comprehensive approach, this article divides the responsibility of individuals into four areas of enquiry.

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