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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.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the most notable thinker to speak of responsibility is Max Weber, who propounds an ethics of responsibility () for the politician.
For Weber, the vocation of politics demands a calm attention to the facts of the situation and the consequences of actions – and not to lofty or abstract principles.
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.
Would the truth of determinism eliminate such responsibility?
Recent moral philosophy contains many attempts to show how responsible agency might be with the causal order of the universe.