Essays On Responsibility And Accountability

Essays On Responsibility And Accountability-51
We evaluate people and groups as responsible or not, depending on how seriously they take their responsibilities. Sometimes we do this formally, for instance in legal judgment.This article considers mainly moral responsibility, and focuses largely upon individuals.

We evaluate people and groups as responsible or not, depending on how seriously they take their responsibilities. Sometimes we do this formally, for instance in legal judgment.This article considers mainly moral responsibility, and focuses largely upon individuals.

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About the Author(s) Linda Galindo Linda Galindo is a consultant specializing in individual and leadership accountability.

Later sections also comment on the relation between legal and moral responsibility, and on the responsibility of collectives.

The article discusses four different areas of individual moral responsibility: (1) Responsible agency, whereby a person is regarded as a normal moral agent; (2) Retrospective responsibility, when a person is judged for her actions, for instance, in being blamed or punished; (3) Prospective responsibility, for instance, the responsibilities attaching to a particular role; and (4) Responsibility as a virtue, when we praise a person as being responsible.

The article will then consider what relations there may be between the concept’s individual and collective uses.

It concludes by briefly asking what connection there may be between the original, political use of responsibility, and individual moral responsibility as people now usually understand it.Philosophical discussion of responsibility has focused largely on (1) and (2).The article points out that a wider view of responsibility helps explore some connections between moral and legal responsibility, and between individual and collective responsibility.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.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.These debates obviously center on the individual agent.As such, they pose difficulties for understanding the topic of collective responsibility – an issue that twentieth century politics has raised with a new urgency.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.

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