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Sharing responsibility and holding responsible

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2013
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Journal number4
Volume30
Number of pages14
Pages351-364
Early online date31/05/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Who, in particular, may hold us responsible for our moral failings? Most discussions of moral responsibility bracket this question, despite its obvious practical importance. In this article, I investigate the moral authority involved and how it arises in the context of personal relationships, such as friendship or family relations. My account is based on the idea that parties to a personal relationship not only share responsibility for their relationship, but also — to some degree that is negotiated between them — for one another's lives. In sharing these responsibilities, we grant people a particular authority to respond to us. By highlighting the responsibility that we assume when we hold someone responsible, I also suggest that this analysis contains important lessons for thinking about responsibility in other contexts.