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Using an affirmative defense means that the defendant recognizes and acknowledges the crime that was committed, but does not believe he should be held completely guilty in it. Choosing Research Topic A research paper is something different from a traditional essay, strict liability essay. The second answer strict liability essay then be research - the straight forward, hard journalistic work. Andrea Yates looked shocked while she was being read an acquittal; attorney George Parnham helped her to wipe the tears pouring down her cheeks. With the advent of automation in financial markets, the concept of "real-time risk" has gained strict liability essay lot of attention. This issue is not just about how we judge our own duties, however:



Both the retrospective and prospective uses also raise the relation between legal and moral responsibility. Many important theories of responsibility relate to legal concerns, which will be discussed in a later section. As we pursue these topics, there is also the difficulty of seeing how they interrelate, so that it makes sense that we use the same word to raise each issue.

The discussion begins with the topics which philosophers have most often discussed: Moral Agency Normal human adults represent our paradigm case of responsible agents. What is distinctive about them, that we accord them this status? Thinking of retrospective responsibility in particular, why can be held accountable for their actions justly praised or blamed, deservedly punished or rewarded? The philosophical literature has explored three broad approaches to moral agency: Human beings have free will, that is, distinctive causal powers or a special metaphysical status, that separate them from everything else in the universe; Human beings can act on the basis of reason s ; Human beings have a certain set of moral or proto-moral feelings.

The first approach, although historically important, has largely been discredited by the success of modern science. Science provides, or promises, naturalistic explanations of such phenomena as the evolution of the human species and the workings of the brain. Almost all modern philosophers approach responsibility as compatibilists that is, they assume that moral responsibility must be compatible with causal or naturalistic explanation of human thought and action, and therefore reject the metaphysical idea of free will.

There can be terminological confusion here. Among modern compatibilists, a contest remains, however, between the second and third approaches positions that are essentially Kantian and Humean in inspiration.

It is indisputable, however, that our rationality is at the centre of his picture of moral agency. Kant himself does not speak of responsibility the word was only just coming into the language of his day but he does have much to say about imputation Zurechnung , that is, the basis on which actions are imputed to a person.

Kant was principally concerned with evaluation of the self. Although he occasionally mentions blame mutual accountability , his moral theory is really about the basis on which a person treats herself as responsible. The core of his answer is that a rational agent chooses to act in the light of principles that is, we deliberate among reasons.

Therefore standards of rationality apply to us, and when we fail to act rationally this is, simply and crudely, a Bad Thing.

It is important to be aware that Kant sees reason as having moral content, so that there is a failure of rationality involved when we do something immoral for instance, by pursuing our self-interest at the expense of others. Even if we sometimes feel no inclination to take account of others, reason still tells us that we should, and can motivate us to do so.

David Hume denied that reason can provide us with moral guidance, or the motivation to act morally. He is famous for his claim that "Reason is wholly inactive, and can never be the source of so active a principle as conscience, or a sense of morals" A Treatise of Human Nature, book 3, part 1, sect. If we are moral agents, this is because we are equipped with certain tendencies to feel or desire, dispositions that make it seem rational to us to act and think morally.

Hume himself stressed our tendency to feel sympathy for others and our tendency to approve of actions that lead to social benefits and to disapprove of those contrary to the social good. Another important class of feelings concern our tendencies to feel shame or guilt, or more broadly, to be concerned with how others see our actions and character.

A Humean analysis of responsibility will investigate how these emotions lead us to be responsive to one another, in ways that support moral conduct and provide social penalties for immoral conduct. This classic essay underlined the role of "reactive sentiments" or "reactive attitudes" that is, emotional responses such as resentment or shame in practices of responsibility.

The basic criticisms that each position makes of the other are simple. Kantians are vulnerable to the charge that they do not give a proper account of the role of feeling and emotion in the moral life.

Humeans are vulnerable to the charge that they cannot give any account of the validity of reasoning beyond the boundaries of what we might feel inclined to endorse or reject: Can the Humean really hold that moral reasoning has any validity for people who do not feel concern for others? So far as responsibility is concerned, Wallace is a well-regarded attempt to mediate between the two approaches.

Rather differently, Pettit uses our susceptibility to reasons as the basis for an essentially interactive account of moral agency. For our purposes, perhaps the most important point is that both positions highlight a series of factors important to responsibility and mutual accountability.

Two further thoughts should be added which apply regardless of which side of this debate one inclines toward. One possible implication of this is that some other animals might have a degree of moral agency; another implication is that human beings may vary in the extent of their agency. This seems clearly true of children as opposed to adults. Second, none of these factors has an obvious connection to free will, in the metaphysical sense that opposes free will to determinism.

As we shall see, however, whether we emphasize the rational or the affective basis for responsible agency tends to generate characteristically different accounts of retrospective responsibility, where the issue of free will tends to recur.

Retrospective Responsibility In assigning responsibility for an outcome or event, we may simply be telling a causal story. This might or might not involve human actions. Such usages do not imply any assignment of blame or desert, and philosophers often distinguish them by referring to "causal responsibility. Among the many different causes that led to an outcome, that action is identified as the morally salient one. If we say the captain was responsible for the shipwreck, we do not deny that all sorts of other causes were in play.

But we do single out the person who we think ought to be held responsible for the outcome. Philosophers sometimes distinguish this usage, by speaking of "liability responsibility. This judgment typically pictures the person as liable to various consequences: This topic is an old concern of philosophers, predating the term "responsibility" by at least two millennia. The classic analysis of the issues goes back to Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, where he investigates the conditions that exculpate us from blame and the circumstances where blame is appropriate.

Among conditions that excuse the actor, he mentions intoxication, force of circumstances, and coercion: We can be blamed for what we do when threatened by others, but not as we would be if coercion were absent. In each case, the issue seems to be whether or not we are able to control what we do: However, although Aristotle thinks that our capacities for deliberation and choice are important to responsible agency, he lacks the Kantian emphasis on rational control discussed in the last section.

Aristotle grants considerable importance to habituation and stable character traits the virtues and vices. On the other hand, how we respond to coercion does reveal much about our virtues and vices; the point is that the meaning of such acts is very different from the meaning they would have in the absence of coercion. Why should this be so? The person who acts badly does not: Since blame, guilt and punishment are of great practical importance, it is clearly desirable that our account of responsibility justify them.

Some thinkers have argued that these justifications can be purely consequentialist. For instance, Smart argues that blame, guilt and punishment are only merited insofar as they can encourage people to do better in the future. However, most philosophers have been dissatisfied with such accounts. For most people, the intuitive justification for the sort of desert involved in retrospective responsibility lies in individual choice or control.

You chose to act selfishly: You chose not to take precautions: You chose to break the law: The question of legal responsibility is considered separately, below. This way of putting matters clearly gives pride of place to our capacity to control our conduct in the light of reasons, moral and otherwise.

It will also emphasize the intentions underlying an action rather than its actual outcomes. This is because intentions are subject to rational choice in a way that outcomes often are not. It can be argued that our intentions and choices are conditioned by our characters, and our characters by the circumstances of our upbringing. Clearly these are not matters of choice. This is why a concern with retrospective responsibility raises the family of issues around moral luck and continues to lead back to the issue of free will: In other words, although the Humean analysis can be understood in terms of individual psychology, it also points to the question: What is it about human interaction that leads us to hold one another responsible?

Kantians, on the other hand, tend to think of retrospective responsibility, not as a matter of influencing others, but rather as our respecting individual capacities for rational choice. This respect may still have harsh consequences, as it involves granting people their just deserts, including blame and punishment. Prospective Responsibility A different use of "responsibility" is as a synonym for "duty. Sometimes we use the term to describe duties that everyone has for example, "Everyone is responsible for looking after his own health.

He is responsible for sorting the garbage; she is responsible for looking after her baby; the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for monitoring air pollution; and so on. In these cases, the term singles out the duties, or "area of responsibility," that somebody has by virtue of their role.

This usage bears at least one straightforward relation to the question of retrospective responsibility. We will tend to hold someone responsible when she fails to perform her duties. A captain is responsible for the safety of the ship; hence he will be held responsible if there is a shipwreck. The usual justification for this lies in the thought that if he had taken his responsibility more seriously, then his actions might have averted the shipwreck.

In some cases, though, when we are entrusted with responsibility for something, we will be held responsible if harm occurs, regardless of whether we might have averted it. This might be true if one hires that is, rents a car, for instance: In order to hire rent the car in the first place, one must accept take responsibility for certain risks.

We may think that everybody has a duty that is, a prospective responsibility to make recompense when certain sorts of risks materialize from their actions. Consider a standard example: Yet we usually think that people have a duty to make some recompense when damage results from their actions, however accidental. From the point of view of our interacting with one another, the issue is not really whether a person could have avoided a particular, unfortunate outcome, so much as the fact that all our actions create risks; and when those risks materialize, someone suffers.

The question is then as Arthur Ripstein has put it whether the losses should "lie where they fall. But we often think that losses should be redistributed. For that to happen, someone else has to make some sort of amends in this case, the person who caused the accident will have to accept responsibility. In terms of prospective responsibility, then, we may think that everyone has a duty to make certain amends when certain risks of action actually materialize just because all our actions impose risks on others as well as ourselves.

In this case, retrospective responsibility is justified, not by whether the person controlled the outcome or could have chosen to do otherwise, but by reference to these prospective responsibilities. Notice, however, that we might want to distinguish the duty to make amends from the issue of blameworthiness.



The Fallacies of Egoism and Altruism, and the Fundamental Principle of Morality (after Kant and Nelson) I have not done wrong. The "Negative Confession" or Protestation of Ani, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Book of Going Forth by Day, The Complete Papyrus of Ani, Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images, translated by Dr. . law in USA for learned professionals who are dismissed from employment for obeying professional ethics.

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