Taking Responsibility

In Ruth Chang & Amia Srinivasan (eds.), Conversations in Philosophy, Law, and Politics. (forthcoming)
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What is it to take responsibility for a moral failure? This chapter investigates taking responsibility for wrongdoing. It starts by considering a prominent view in the literature: that to take responsibility for a wrong is to blame oneself for it. Contrary to the self-blame account, it is argued that taking responsibility and self-blame can come apart in various ways. Instead, the normative footprint account is defended. It is suggested that wrongdoing changes the normative landscape in systematic ways: it can create duties to apologize, to acknowledge the wrong done, to make amends, to respond to the wronged party’s upset. To take responsibility for a wrong is to own the normative consequences of one’s wrong.

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Paulina Sliwa
University of Vienna


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