Article/Publication Details

What Does Assuming Responsibility Mean? Towards the Concept of Imputation in Contemporary Ethics

(Original title: Čo znamená prevziať zodpovednosť? K pojmu imputácie v súčasnej etike)
Filozofia, 2010, vol. 65, No 9, pp. 893-906.
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The conceptual basis of the paper is the difference between two types of responsibility: (a) the agent’s responsibility for his own acts and their effects; (b) a responsibi- lity which is primarily oriented to the Other, about whom one is concerned and for whom one guarantees. The paper deals with this second meaning of responsibility: an imputation of a deed to somebody as its agent. The author explores the origins of the modern concept of imputation, its specific character and effectiveness, as well as its limitations. She focuses on three approaches: those of M. Weber, A. Giuliani and P. Ricœur. Weber’s responsibility means a causal imputation. But it was not Weber, who introduced this way of defining the act’s ethical value. Giuliani shows, how the theological concept of imputation is related to its later laicization in the theory of natural law. Ricœur argues that the real history of responsibility began after responsibility has been separated from the theological context. In conclusion it is showed, that although responsibility rooted in one’s realizing the vulnerability of the Other differs from the responsibility of the agent for his own deeds, these are neither historically, nor theoretically two independent realms.

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