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  • Williams 2020 Moral Responsibility Oxford Bibliographies

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Moral Responsibility: Oxford Bibliographies - Philosophy

Research output: Exhibits, objects and web-based outputsWeb publication/site

Publication date21/04/2020
PublisherOxford University Press
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article focuses on compatibilist approaches to moral responsibility—that is, approaches that see moral responsibility as compatible with the causal order of the world. A separate Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy article considers “Free Will” and incompatibilist perspectives. Those approaches tend to give less attention to the forms of interaction involved in holding responsible and to the position of those who suffer wrongdoing. However, as Peter Strawson pointed out in a seminal essay (see § Responsibility and the Reactive Sentiments), moral responsibility is intimately related to our reactions to one another. Similarly, consequentialist thinkers stress the social effects of holding people responsible for their actions, and these approaches have seen a marked revival in recent years (see § Utilitarian and Consequentialist Approaches). This reflects a wider trend, stressed in the related sections of this article, to consider practices of holding responsible and how these connect with people’s relationships and wider social and political structures. Moral responsibility also bears on other topics of great practical importance, only briefly mentioned here. These include responsibility under the law (see the separate Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy article on “Punishment”), the responsibilities of groups and organizations, accountability within organizations, and how distributive justice and individual responsibility are related.