Stephen Bero, ‘Holding Responsible and Taking Responsibility’

In matters of responsibility, there are often two sides to the transaction: one party who holds another responsible, and the other who (ideally) takes responsibility for her conduct. The first side has been closely scrutinized in discussions of the nature of responsibility, due to the influential Strawsonian conjecture that an agent is responsible if and only if it is (in some sense) appropriate to hold her responsible. This preoccupation with holding responsible – with its focus on the second-personal perspective and on responses like blame – contrasts with a relative neglect of the perspective of the agent and the role that she has to play by taking responsibility. I aim to show that this neglect is undeserved – that taking responsibility is both distinct in character from holding responsible and fundamentally important in its own right. I develop a conception of taking responsibility that reveals an under-explored dimension of our responsibility practices.

Stephen Bero, Holding Responsible and Taking Responsibility, Law and Philosophy volume 39, pages 263–296 (2020).

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