Santoni de Sio, Filippo
The term ‘Responsibility’ has different senses, as it may designate: a duty deriving from a role; the condition of who possesses the capacities required to be attributed the moral consequences of their actions; the position of who has carried out blameworthy actions or omissions; the position of who has to respond for damages (or benefits) caused by their behavior. Many see blameworthiness or culpability – the so-called ‘moral responsibility’ – as the paradigmatic sense of responsibility, and claim that this can be philosophically justified only through a metaphysical conception of “free will”. However, attributions of blameworthiness and culpability – taken as a whole – are morally justified mainly through their positive effects in terms of their reducing unwanted behavior. Indeed, in their more specific applications, attributions of culpability involve moral issues which cannot be solved without a reference to the metaphysics of personhood, the metaphysics of mind and action as well as to normative evaluations of justice and fairness. A similar conceptual structure is to be found in the other senses of responsibility.