Moral responsibility

When the person makes or doesn't make morally significant action, we sometimes consider that it demands a certain reaction. Approval and censure — it, perhaps, the most obvious forms which you can accept such reaction. For example, the person who had a car accident can be considered meeting approvals that he rescued the child from the burning car, or deserving censure if he didn't use the mobile phone to cause the help. To consider that such agents deserve one of the mentioned reactions, means to consider them responsible that they made or didn't make. (These are examples of attributing of responsibility concerning others. Reactions can are also directed on themselves, for example, somebody can consider himself deserving censure). Thus, to be morally responsible for something, say, action, means to deserve a certain reaction — approval, censure, or something similar — for his commission [1].

Though further development and specification of the presented description of moral responsibility which will be given below is required, it is enough of it to distinguish a question of this form of responsibility from some other questions at which discussion the terms "responsibility" and "responsible" are used. For an illustration: we can tell that bigger than usually an amount of precipitation during the spring period responsibly for emergence of plentiful vegetation; the judge is responsible for instructing of jurors before meeting. In the first case we point to a causal relationship between the dropped-out earlier large amount of rainfall and the increase in quantity of vegetation which came later. In the second we mean that when someone assumes a role of the judge, it is followed by certain obligations. Though these concepts are connected with the concept of moral responsibility discussed here, they not the same as in one of cases we aren't concerned directly by a question, whether reaction of approval or censure (in this case an amount of precipitation or the specific judge) will be pertinent [2].

The philosophical judgment of moral responsibility has long history. One of the reasons of undying interest in this subject — her communication with our idea of itself as about "persons" [3]. Many consider that important line of the personality is her status of morally responsible agent, the status based as believe some, on a special type of the control inherent only in persons. Many of those who considers the personality thus, are afraid that the special status of the personality is under the threat if our some ideas of the Universe are right. For example, whether the personality can bear moral responsibility for the behavior if it can be completely explained with the appeal to the physical conditions of the Universe and laws describing changes of these physical states or the appeal to existence of sovereign God who directs the world on the way predetermined by him? Questions of this sort often stimulated reflections about moral responsibility.

The exhaustive theory of moral responsibility has to shed light on the following questions: (1) concept or idea of moral responsibility in itself; (2) criteria of the moral agent, that is such agent to which responsibility can be attributed (for example, only the beings possessing the general ability to estimate the reason of actions can be moral agents); (3) conditions under which have to in a way the concept of moral responsibility, that is those conditions under which the moral agent answers for is applied something (for example, the moral agent can be responsible for the action made by him, only if he acted freely where free action assumes existence of opportunity to come in a different way to the action commission moment); and at last, (4) possible objects of attributing of responsibility (for example, actions, inaction, consequences, traits of character, etc.) Though each of these components will be considered below (pay attention, for example, to a summary of a position of Aristotle in the following section), the main attention in this article is concentrated on the first, that is on concept of moral responsibility. In the section following at once introduction the origin of concept of moral responsibility and history of his judgment in the West is discussed. It is followed by the review of the latest works devoted to concept of moral responsibility. For further for acquaintance to the discussions on questions connected with moral responsibility, pay attention to the connected articles of the encyclopedia provided below.

1. Historical review
2. Modern researches of concept of responsibility
     2.1. Stroson and reciprocal installations
     2.2 Development after Stroson

1. Historical review

The short review of sources and trajectory of judgment of moral responsibility in the western philosophical tradition is presented in this section. Against it distinction between two concepts of moral responsibility which had essential impact on the subsequent thinkers will be carried out.

The concept of moral responsibility and its application is implitsitno present already at some of the earliest Greek texts which reached us namely at Homer's eposes (about VIII centuries B.C.; however, undoubtedly, they were affected by earlier oral tradition) [4]. In these texts both people, and gods as agents are often regarded as suitable objects for approval and censure on the basis of their behavior, and in other cases the behavior of the agent deserves forgiveness in a type of existence of the factor weakening his or her control (Irwin 1999: 225). The judgment of such factors gave rise to fatalism — a look according to which the future or its some aspect is predetermined, for example, by gods, either stars, or simply some the facts about truth or time, and is predetermined in such a way that someone's separate reflections, the choice and actions don't influence realization of this future (remember, for example, Oedipus's case). If any result is predetermined, it seems that the agent having to him relation can't bear for him moral responsibility. Moreover, if fatalism was right concerning future each person, it would appear that any person can't bear moral responsibility for something. Though this kind of fatalism had essential historical influence, most of philosophers rejected it on the ground that we have no convincing arguments to consider our future predetermined in sense of that it will develop irrespective of our separate reflections, our choice or the made actions.

Aristotle (384–323 BC) seemingly, the first I constructed the theory of moral responsibility [5]. In "Nikomakhovy ethics" (III.1–5), during discussion of human virtues and the defects corresponding to them, Aristotle stops to investigate their bases. He begins with the short formulation of concept of moral responsibility — sometimes pertinently to answer the agent with approval or censure on the basis of his actions and/or the dispozitsionalnykh of lines of his character (1109b30–35). A little further he clears up that only certain agents get to a class of moral agents and are subjects of attributing of responsibility, namely those who possesses ability of decision-making. For Aristotle the decision — this certain desire which is result of reflection and expressing ideas of the agent of the benefit (1111b5–1113b3). The rest of an Aristotelean reasoning is devoted to pronunciation of conditions under which the moral agent can be considered meeting censures or approvals for his some action or a trait of character. Generally, his offer consists that somebody is the suitable candidate for approval or censure if only if action and/or predisposition have a voluntary nature. According to Aristotle, voluntary action or a trait of character have two distinctive features. First, control condition: action or a trait of character have to happen from the agent. That is, has to depend on the agent, whether make some action or have some trait of character; they can't be result of external coercion. Secondly, Aristotle enters an epistemichesky condition: the agent has to realize that he does or to that he is the reason [6].

Rather indicative ambiguity — the ambiguity which led to emergence of his views alternative to interpretation is peculiar to Aristotelean understanding of responsibility. Aristotle seeks to reveal conditions at which pertinently to approve or blame the agent, but, at the same time, not quite clearly as, according to his concept of responsibility, it is necessary to treat this key concept of relevance. There are, at least, two opportunities: a) approval or censure are pertinent in the sense that the agent deserves the similar answer in view of the behavior and/or traits of character; or b) approval or censure are pertinent in the sense that this or that reaction most likely will lead to desirable result, namely to improvement of behavior and/or character of the agent. Two specified opportunities can be characterized in terms of two contradictory interpretations of concept of moral responsibility: 1) the look based on concept of advantages according to which approval or censure will be pertinent reactions only when chelovek4 is worthy, that is deserves, such reaction; 2) if reaction of this or that sort most likely will lead a konsekventsialistsky look according to which approval or censure are pertinent if only to desirable change in the agent and/or his behavior [7].

Researchers argue what of the listed points of view was accepted by Aristotle, however importance of their distinction increased when philosophers started paying attention to new earlier not conscious threat for moral responsibility. Though Aristotle criticized one of versions of fatalism (About interpretation, hl. 9), he could not pay attention to distinction between fatalism and related to him threat of a causal determinism. The causal determinism — is a position according to which the reasons of everything that happens or exists, the sufficient previous conditions excluding opportunity to something to happen or exist in a different way are, than it happens or exists. One of options of a causal determinism — a scientific determinism — defines the corresponding previous conditions as a combination of the previous conditions of the Universe and laws of the nature. Drogy the look — a theological determinism — is defined by these conditions as the nature and will of God. It seems that the theological determinism developed resulted both in Greek, and in Mesopotamic religions of shift from polytheism to belief in one sovereign God, or, at least, in god predominating over the others. The doctrine history about a scientific determinism can be tracked up to atomistov-dosokratik (V century BC), but a difference between him and early fatalistic representations remained the stoical philosophy which isn't brightened up to formation (III century BC) . Though fatalism, as well as a causal determinism, threatening control of the agent over actions, seemingly, can threaten moral responsibility, these theories differ on the significance attached to human reflections, a choice and actions. If fatalism is right, human reflections, a choice and actions are absolutely useless as that is foreordained, will occur irrespective of the fact which the choice was made by someone. However, according to a causal determinism, reflections, a choice and actions often appear necessary links in the causal chains leading to this or that result. In other words: in spite of the fact that our reflections, a choice and actions in itself are determined, as well as all the rest, according to a causal determinism, true is that implementation or existence of other things definitely depends including on our reflections, a choice and actions (Irwin 1999: 243–249; Meyer 1998: 225–227; and Pereboom 1997: ch. 2).

Since stoik the thesis of a causal determinism and its version take the central place in theoretical reasonings on moral responsibility. In the Middle Ages, in particular in Augustine's works (354–430) and Foma Akvinsky (1225-1274) the judgment of freedom and responsibility was often stimulated with the questions connected with a theological determinism; they include such noticeable questions as, whether (a) means God's sovereignty, what God is responsible for the evil?; and (b) and whether follows from divine anticipation, what we aren't free and we don't bear moral responsibility as, seemingly, we can't make anything of that kind that God wouldn't expect? During Modern times interest in a scientific determinism revived; this change can be correlated to development increasingly of the becoming complicated mechanistic models of the Universe which culmination was the Newtonian physics. Possibility of an exhaustive explanation of any phenomenon in the Universe, including acts of man became more plausible. Many considered that persons can't be free and morally responsible if it appears that such explanation is possible. Others proved that the validity of a causal determinism won't damage to freedom and responsibility. According to this view of a ratio between various to branches of a causal determinism and moral responsibility, thinkers can be carried to two types: 1) inkompatibilist concerning a causal determinism and moral responsibility consider that if the causal determinism is right, there is nothing of that kind, for what we could bear moral responsibility; 2) kompatibilist believe that the personality can be morally responsible for some things even if also the one whom she is, and that she does [8] is determined. Examples of these positions in Ancient Greece are respectively Epicurus's views (341–270 BC) and stoik.

Higher was the ambiguity which is present at the Aristotelean concept of moral responsibility is shown: not clearly, whether he accepts the konsekventsialistsky concept of moral responsibility or concept of moral responsibility based on concept of advantages. The history of judgment of moral responsibility shows that how the philosopher interprets concept of moral responsibility, strongly influences his theory of moral responsibility in general. For example, those who accepts the concept of moral responsibility based on concept of advantages gravitate to an inkompatibilizm. That is, most of such philosophers believes that if the agent is rather worthy approvals or censures for something, he had to have a certain sort a control over it (for example, ability at the time of action how to make it, not to make), incompatible with a causal deteminirovannost of the agent. Except Epicurus we can refer as historical examples to early Augustine, Thomas Read (1710-1796) and Immanuil Kant (1724-1804). On the other hand, those who accepts the konsekventsialistsky concept of moral responsibility, traditionally insist that the determinism doesn't bear in itself threat for moral responsibility as approval and censure can remain an effective remedy of impact on foreign behavior even in the deterministichny world. Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), David Yum (1711–1776) and Jon Stewart Mill (1806–1873), and also racks are representatives of this point of view. The general tendency of linkng of the konsenventsialistsky concept of moral responsibility with a kompatibilizm concerning a causal determinism and the moral responsibility and the concept based on concept of advantages with an inkompatibilizm continued to exist on an extent of all first half of the twentieth century.

2. Modern researches of concept of responsibility

The question of how it is better to treat concept of moral responsibility, is important in view of the fact that it can significantly influence understanding of what philosophical problems can be connected with this concept and if those are available what can be their decision. As it was already noted above, any philosophical judgment of moral responsibility historically leaned on one of two interpretations of this concept: 1) or on the approach based on concept of advantages according to which approval or censure is pertinent reaction to behavior of the person if only if he is worthy — that is deserves — such reaction; or on 2) konventsialistsky approach according to which approval or censure are pertinent if only if reaction such, most likely, leads to desirable change in the agent and/or his behavior. Though various versions of konsekventsialistskiy approach continued to get support (Smart; Frankena 1963: ch. 4; Schlick 1966; Brandt 1992; Dennett 1984: ch. 7; Kupperman 1991: ch. 3; and Vargas 2013: ch. 6), in the last 50 years work with concept of moral responsibility concentrated on a) search of alternative versions of the approach based on concept of advantages and b) clarification of more and more, whether there is only one concept of moral responsibility or not.

The most part of recent researches of concept of moral responsibility was caused by the increased attention to regard and recognize to our predisposition persons responsible. All researchers noted characteristic features of this practice: internal installations and emotions, their external expression in condemnation or approval and application of the corresponding sanctions or encouragement. However most of researchers believed that these internal installations and emotions are based on more fundamental theoretical judgments about, whether the agent is responsible. In other words, was accepted, as a rule, that censure and approval depend on judgment or belief (in most cases doreflektivny) that the considered agent corresponds to objective conditions of execution of responsibility. It was supposed that these judgments don't depend on the internal adjusting/emotional states participating in recognition of the person responsible in the sense that removal and an assessment of such judgments not necessarily requires the appeal to installations and emotions of the person who is taking out judgment. For the supporter of the konsekventsialistsky point of view such judgment consists that the agent exercises some look control over the behavior which it is possible to influence from the outside by expression of the censure or approval directed on control or support of a certain behavior. For those who adheres to the point of view based on concept of advantages, such judgment consists that the agent exercises control of a necessary metaphysical look over the behavior, for example, that the agent could come differently to the action moment (Watson 1987: 258).

If recognition of responsibility, according to our best explanation, is based on independent judgment about, whether somebody is responsible, lawful is a question, whether it is possible to prove in general these fundamental judgments and the related external expressions in view of the best world explanation which is available for us today, for example in view of certificates that our world, probably, детерминистичен. According to inkompatibilist, judgments that someone bears moral responsibility, can't be true, if the world детерминистичен; in this case approval and censure in the sense based on concept of advantages would be inappropriate. On the other hand, kompatibilist insist that the validity of a determinism is harmless to the fundamental judgments interesting us about efficiency the practician of approval and censure, therefore, she leaves a rationality similar the practician untouched.

2.1. Stroson and reciprocal installations

In the sign essay "Freedom and Indignation" (1962) P. Stroson sets as the purpose to judge dispute between those kompatibilist who adhere to konsekventsialistsky approach to responsibility, and inkompatibilist — supporters of the approach based on concept of advantages [9]. Both parties are wrong, Stroson as they distort concept of moral responsibility claims, dividing the widespread assumption described above — an assumption that recognition of responsibility of the personality is based on theoretical judgment about, whether she is responsible. According to Stroson, the installations expressed in recognition of the personality morally responsible — it is a kind of a wide range of the installations coming from our involvement into the interpersonal relations; such installations as, for example, indignation, indignation, feeling of offense, anger, appreciation, mutual love and forgiveness concern to them. Purpose of these installations consists in expressing "… as far as we are concerned, is how significant for us, whether reflect actions of other people, in particular some people, on the one hand, of installation of good will, an arrangement or respect in relation to us or, on the other hand, installations of disrespect, indifference or evil intention" (page 5, italics author's). Thus, these installations — it is reciprocal installations of participants of the interpersonal relations because they are a) are natural estimated reactions to perception of good will, evil will or indifference (page 4-6) and b) are expressed from a position of the one who is shipped in the interpersonal relations and who considers the person recognized responsible, also as the participant of these relations (page 10) [10].

Reciprocal installations can be postponed or modified in circumstances at least two types. In the first case we can conclude that, contrary to the first impression, the person didn't violate the requirement of existence of reasonable degree of good will in the behavior. For example, behavior of the person it is possible to forgive if we establish that it was casual, or we can establish that it was proved, say, in case of an emergency situation and pursued some bigger benefit. In circumstances of the second type we can refuse a view of a certain person as on the participant of the interpersonal relations. We take an objective position in such cases, standing on which we stop regarding the individual as capable to participate in the real interpersonal relations (during limited time or it is constant). Instead, we regard the individual as psychologically/morally abnormal or undeveloped, so, and as the candidate suitable not for all number of reciprocal installations, but mainly for what are connected with the simple address or simply tool control. Such individuals are, somewhat or to some degree, behind borders of moral community. For example, we can regard very small child as such individual who is initially exempted from application to him reciprocal installations (but with a growing all in smaller and smaller degree, in case of normal development). Or we can take an objective position in relation to the individual suffering as we established, a serious mental disorder (P. F. Strawson 1962: 6–10; Bennett: 40; Watson 1987: 259–260; R. Jay Wallace: chs. 5–6).

The essence of the criticism of Stroson turned by him both against konsekventsialist and against supporters of the traditional approach based on concept of advantages consists that they too strongly rationalized a problem of moral responsibility — criticism against which many subsequent thinkers fought [11]. The origin of this charge of superrationalization is covered in traditional tendency to assume that rationality of attributing of the identity of responsibility depends on judgment that this personality satisfies to some set of objective criteria of execution of responsibility (a condition of ability to action or metaphysical freedom), and that these judgments can be proved. Stroson on the contrary insists that reciprocal installations — this natural expression of essential line of the form of our life, namely, the interpersonal nature of our way of life. Thus, the practice of attributing of responsibility implanted in our way of life "doesn't demand and doesn't allow external "rational" justification" (page 23). Though judgments about relevance of certain reactions can also appear (for example, answers to questions of this kind: Whether "Really the behavior of the person expressed evil will?" or, whether "Is the considered person the real participant of the human relations in the moral sphere?), these judgments are based on the internal principles of the practice. It means that their justification sends back to the description of reciprocal installations and their role in the interpersonal relations, but not to some independent theoretical description of conditions of execution of responsibility.

Considering all aforesaid, Stroson insists that it is senseless to ask, whether practice of attributing of responsibility be rationally proved if the determinism is right can. It is right or because for us it is psychologically impossible to refuse these reactions and all the time to take an objective position, or even if it would be possible because it isn't clear, in view of probable deterioration of life, would be rational to refuse reciprocal installations or not. So, Stroson tries to turn traditional discussion upside down as now judgments about execution of responsibility are understood more likely in their relation to that role which play reciprocal installations in practice of attributing of responsibility, than on the contrary. While judgments can be true or false and because of it the desire of good will and installation made by her can need justification, in itself aren't subject to a truthconditional assessment, need for external justification (Magill 1887 thereby is eliminated: 21; Double 1996b: 848).

The Strosonovsky concept of moral responsibility offers a kompatibilistsky view of responsibility, but such which considerably disperses from earlier similar approaches in two aspects. First, Stroson — a kompatiblist it is only formal. It means that, across Stroson, the problem of a determinism and freedom/responsibility isn't so much allowed with demonstration of that objective conditions of execution of responsibility are compatible to that the agent is determined, how many acts demonstration of that practice of attributing of responsibility to people isn't based on observance of these conditions and, therefore, doesn't need external justification in the face of a determinism. Secondly, Stroson's approach — is a form of the kompatibilizm based on concept of advantages. Unlike the majority former the konsekventsialistskikh of forms of a kompatibilizm, she helps to explain why we feel that some agents deserve our condemnation or are worthy our approval: because they broke, satisfied, or surpassed our requirements of reasonable degree of good will.

2.2 Development after Stroson

Most of researchers agree that consideration of reciprocal installations by Stroson — is a valuable contribution to our understanding of practice of attributing of responsibility, but many don't agree with his statement that this practice has isolated character, namely that (a), judgment time about correctness of application of reciprocal installations have character internal for this practice (that is, execution of responsibility is defined by the appeal to practice of attributing of responsibility), their justification can't be considered from the point of view, external for this practice; and (b) as reciprocal installations — it is the natural reactions based on our psychological device they can't be eliminated with theoretical reasonings. In response to the first thesis some authors object that it is obviously possible to criticize the existing practicians of attributing of responsibility from external positions. For example, we can judge that practice of attributing of responsibility in our own or in some other community has to be changed (Fischer and Ravizza 1993: 18; Ekstrom 2000: 148–149). If similar estimates are legitimate, that, contrary to Stroson's statements, the existing practicians of attributing of responsibility, seemingly, can be called into question from external positions. In other words, execution of responsibility can't be interpreted only in terms of the existing practice of attributing of responsibility. It can mean that there is a certain role which independent theoretical conditions of execution of responsibility — condition which can be kompatibilistsky or inkompatibilistsky by the nature can play.

Responding to the second anti-theoretical statement of Stroson, some object that inkompatibilistsky intuitions are implanted in reciprocal installations in such a way that these installations can't continue to exist if they aren't given some justification, or, in weaker form that they can't but be distorted if something is right like a determinism. Here examples of elimination or mitigation of reciprocal installations if it is known are often given that in the past the agent was exposed to serious deprivations or abuses. In such cases we can incline to thought that reciprocal installations change because we consider stories of agents in similar cases deterministichny. If such interpretation of a problem is right, it is confirmation of that theoretical reasons, like the validity of a determinism, can press reciprocal installations (Nagel 1986: 125; Kane 1996: 84–89; Galen Strawson 1986: 88; Honderich 1988: vol. 2, ch. 1; and replies by Watson 1987: 279–286 and 1996: 240; McKenna 1998).

Some authors continue to protect very skillfully versions of strosonovosky approach, and below we will tell more about how his practices continue to have the defining impact on modern discussions about responsibility. However many consider objections, like given above, sufficient for a denial of the most radical anti-theoretical statements of Stroson. In particular, inkompatibilist are, seemingly, not convinced by Stroson's creation and continue to accept more or less traditional concept of moral responsibility based on concept of advantages as a basis of the theories. Many kompatibilist also have doubts that Stroson managed to show successfully that independent theoretical reasons have no relation to attributing of responsibility. It should be noted that some of them allocate for reciprocal installations the central place in the researches of concept of responsibility that leads to emergence of the versions of a kompatibilizm based on concept of advantages (see for example Fischer and Ravizza 1998, McKenna 2012).

Until recently philosophers assumed that all of them work with one general concept of moral responsibility. Even when there were disputes how it is better to describe him, it was supposed that these discussions are conducted about one correct way of the description of concept of responsibility. Stroson was, undoubtedly, among those who accepted this assumption to judge dispute between kompatibilist who adhered to konsekventsialistsky approach, and inkompatibilist who protected the approach based on concept of advantages. However recently some authors assumed that, at least, some differences of opinion on the acceptable comprehensive theory can come from mixture of different, but related concepts of responsibility.

Generally, distinction between responsibility as the accountability and responsibility as attribution was carried out [12]. Relying on Stroson's achievements, many modern theorists of responsibility as accountability insist what to be responsible means to be the suitable candidate for reciprocal installations (Bennett 1980; Wallace 1994; Watson 1996; Fischer & Ravizza 1998; Darwall 2006). In other words, the agent is responsible for something if only if for us pertinently to consider him responsible, or capable to the report, applying to him reciprocal installations. It puts in the forefront a keynote of strosonovsky approach, namely: our practicians of attributing of responsibility on the substance of a sotsialna. By means of reciprocal installations (for example, indignation), we tell to other members of our moral community interpersonal expectations of reasonable extent of manifestation of good will (Stern 1974; Watson 1987/1996; McKenna 1998/2012; Darwall 2006; Shoemaker 2007)[13].

As the reciprocal installations expressed and accompanied with the related practicians can have consequences for wellbeing of the agent (especially in cases when installations and practicians of censure are used for calling someone to the report for a bad act), they will be pertinent, seemingly, only if it is fair that the agent is subject to their application in sense of that he / she deserves them [14]. This care of justice can be the primary source of the approach to responsibility based on concept of advantages. Respectively, this line of reasonings can help with an explanation of historical concern of philosophers about a question, whether opportunity to arrive differently for existence of responsibility is necessary. Thus, behind obviously felt need of possibility of access to alternatives the standard need for opportunity fairly to avoid censure and the corresponding sanctions (Zimmerman lies: ch. 5; Wallace: 103–117; Watson 1996: 238–9; Magill 1997: 42–53; Nelkin 2012:31–50).

It is remarkable that some theories of responsibility almost don't address to reciprocal installations or related practicians at all. Perhaps, the most striking example of similar approach — is so-called "registration" theories of moral responsibility. According to such theories, practice of attributing of responsibility is connected with record of the credit or the debit in metaphorical the "registration magazine" appropriated to each agent (to Feinberg: 30–1; Glover: 64; Zimmerman: 38–9; and discussion of such views in Watson 1987: 261–2; Fischer & Ravizza 1998: 8–10, nt. 12). In other words, the agent bears responsibility if offense or a merit is correctly appropriated or attributed to him.

"Registration" theories belong to a wide class of the approaches considering a responsibility problem as a problem of the correct attribution. How Hary Watson emphasizes, the central question in such theories – whether actions or installations of the agent open his estimated judgments or belief (1996)? Compliance to basic conditions of responsibility as attributions, seemingly, is necessary for execution as well for responsibility as accountability. For example, it would be unfair to consider someone accountable for perfect action and to apply such reciprocal installations as indignation or indignation if action can't be properly attributed to the agent; for example, because he fell a victim of rather insuperable psychological inclination. At the same time, responsibility in sense of attribution hasn't enough for responsibility as accountability. As Watson notes, can be senseless to attribute to the agent responsibility for action as it can not belong to actions such for which the agent is accountable before us. For example, someone can think that, making the decision, important for career, his acquaintance didn't attach due significance to that sphere where he could develop and use the talents in full degree. Though this and not moral judgment in narrow sense, otstaivayemy supporters of the theory of the accountability (that is it isn't connected with any interpersonal requirements, or mutual expectations of that look which is assumed by reciprocal installations), is a case of detection of a mistake how the agent used the judgment. If responsibility as the accountability and attribution can be divorced thus, seemingly, we deal with two different concepts of responsibility [15].

Some approaches hardly can be referred to one of these two categories. For example, according to other influential look, somebody is responsible for action or installation only when they are connected with his ability to estimated judgments in such a way that others in principle can impose to the agent requirements of justification of action or installation (Oshana 1997; Scanlon 1998; Smith 2005/2008/2012). Such approach — we will call it the otvetnost model — apparently, combines aspects of models of the accountability and attribution (see discussion in Watson 2011; Shoemaker 2012). The obvious aspect of attributive model is reflected in underlining of that the estimated subject has to be susceptible to judgments. The attention to interpersonal properties, inherent in strosoniansky models of the accountability, is expressed in the requirement of justification (though supporters of theories of an otvetnost are inclined to deny need of communication between these requirements and reciprocal installations). Thus, the otvetnost model gives the chance of reunion of two branches of discussion about responsibility (Smith 2012) though some see other reason for allocation of additional sense of responsibility (Shoemaker 2012).

Recognition of a variety of meanings within concept of moral responsibility generated reflections about, whether conditions of moral responsibility each other (Nagel 1986 contradict; G. Strawson 1986, 105–117, 307–317; Honderich 1988: vol. 2, ch. 1; Double 1996a: chs. 6–7; Bok 1998: ch. 1; Smilansky 2000: ch. 6). For example, some note that though it is enough freedom in kompatibilistsky sense for attribution, the real accountability will demand from agents of libertarian freedom. Promptly growing massif of experimental data about popular intuitions about freedom and responsibility adds fuel to the fire of these disputes (Nahmias et. al. 2005 and 2007; Vargas 2006; Nichols & Knobe 2007; Nelkin 2007; Roskies & Nichols 2008; Knobe & Doris 2010).

If in concept of responsibility there are irreconcilable contradictions, conditions of its application can't be satisfied with time. Of course, always there were those who considered that conditions of moral responsibility can't be met, and nobody bears moral responsibility. For example, rigid determinists are that. However among modern rigid determinists and those who imprisons about impossibility of observance at once all conditions of our popular concept of responsibility, the remarkable new tendency to offer revisionist concepts of moral responsibility (or something similar to moral responsibility) and related the practician is observed instead of completely refusing discussion of responsibility. The revisionism of moral responsibility differs on degree. Some revisionists try to rescue considerable if not the most part of that, in their opinion, is connected with popular concept of responsibility (Dennett 1984: 19; Honderich 1988: vol. 2, ch. 1; Scanlon 1998: 274–277; Vargas 2004/2005/2013); others offer radical reconstruction of this concept and related the practician (Smart 1961; Pereboom 2001: 199–212; Smilansky 2000: chps. 7–8; Kelly 2002)[16].


It is difficult to overestimate the impact which is had by Stroson on discussion of a question of moral responsibility. Revival of interest in metaphysical treatments of freedom and moral responsibility is a sign of in recent years that most of philosophers wasn't convinced by his most radical criticism of similar approaches. Nevertheless, his permanent influence is expressed in the proceeding intensive discussions about a place and a role of reciprocal installations in human life and how modern researchers position the models of responsibility concerning accountability model which understanding he helped to create.


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A. P. Besedin's translation

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Eshleman, Andrew. Moral responsibility//Stenfordsky encyclopedia of philosophy (version of summer of 2014) / Edition Edward N. Zalta. The lane with English A.P. Besedina. URL =

Original: Eshleman, Andrew, "Moral Responsibility", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

[1] For simplification of the subsequent introduction discussion I don't consider separate difficulties, some of which will be discussed at the end of article. For example, I intentionally limit the consideration to morally significant actions (and, probably, other objects — we will tell, traits of character — getting under a moral assessment), and I assume that the moral responsibility means both positive, and negative reactions, such as approval and censure. Arriving so, I for a while put aside two important ways of understanding of concept of responsibility. First, some think that the sphere of responsibility isn't limited to the actions (and other subjects) getting under a moral assessment, but responsibility, in principle, is applicable to all intended actions (as well other subjects can be connected with such actions. See for example Fischer and Ravizza, 1998: 8, nt. 11). Secondly, some claim that correctly interpreted idea of moral responsibility, assumes communication only with various forms of censure (see for example Wallace 1994: 12).

[2] For further discussion see Hart 1968: ch. 9; Feinberg 1970: 130–9.

[3] The term "personality" in this case is used as the technical term. It is important to understand it because the question of, whether coincides a class of persons with a class of people, remains open. It can be not so or because there are (or once will appear) persons who aren't people or because not all people can be carried to persons in the strict sense of the word interesting us.

[4] Discussion of the problem connected with this situation can be found in Bernard Williams: ch. 2–3.

[5] In works of Adkins (1960), Curren (1989/2000), Roberts (1984) the traditional look according to which Aristotle discusses the concept of moral responsibility similar to ours is challenged. Strong protection of a traditional look against similar calls can be found in works of Meyer 1993: chs. 1–2; Brickhouse 1991. Attempt to resolve this dispute the appeal to the different "sides" or concepts of responsibility (discussed in this section further) can be found in work of Echenique 2012: ch. 2.

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