Moral Responsibility

Michael McKenna

in Conversation and Responsibility

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199740031
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918706 | DOI:
Moral Responsibility

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There are different kinds of responsibility, and even different kinds of moral responsibility. This chapter offers a conceptual map of moral responsibility in the accountability sense. In this sense, those who are morally responsible are candidates for being held to account for what they do. Moral responsibility, so understood, can be explained by three related concepts: morally responsible agency, being morally responsible for something, and holding morally responsible. Morally responsible agents are distinguished from mere moral agents in that they are able to understand and respond to expectations and demands of those holding morally responsible. Being morally responsible for an action in the sense of being blameworthy for it is explained by focusing on morally wrong acts knowingly and freely preformed. A requirement on blameworthiness is that an agent act from a morally objectionable quality of will. Holding morally responsible for a blameworthy act by blaming is distinguished from merely judging that a person is blameworthy insofar as holding blaming involves an attitude of disapproval.

Keywords: accountability; appraisability; moral agency; morally responsible agency; moral responsibility for; blameworthiness; praiseworthiness; holding morally responsible; praise; blame

Chapter.  12448 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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