Moral Responsibility Reconsidered: Integrating Chance, Choice and Constraint
International Journal of Philosophy
Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2019, Pages: 48-54
Received: Feb. 4, 2019;
Accepted: Mar. 15, 2019;
Published: Apr. 9, 2019
Views 223 Downloads 63
Abraham Rudnick, Department of Psychiatry and School of Occupational Therapy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Follow on us
Clarity is needed regarding moral responsibility, for theoretical and practical purposes, such as philosophical coherence and social regulation. In this article, I examine the notion of (individual) moral responsibility. I first dispense with a preliminary concern, that the notion of moral responsibility can be used in at least two distinct ways, which I argue are necessarily related and hence can be jointly addressed in this article. I then elaborate on what I consider to be the three key tenets of the proposed theoretical approach: chance, choice and constraint (which can hence be termed the 3Cs theory of responsibility); specifically, I consider chance as indeterminate (although calculable), whereas choice and constraint are determined by chance and by each other. I then integrate these tenets to form a rudimentary yet useful theory of (individual) moral responsibility, particularly referring to the iterative process of chance, choice and constraint. And then I apply this theory to three sufficiently dissimilar types of situations of ascending complexity: the responsibility of a democratically elected politician regarding his or her public communication, the responsibility of a person with psychosis regarding his or her psychosis-related behavior, and the responsibility of a parent regarding his or her dependent child’s upbringing. Finally, I summarize and attend to special and general implications of my conclusions, such as the importance of considering expected – rather than actual – impact of chance, choice and constraint, during moral deliberation for assignment of (individual) moral responsibility.
Chance, Choice, Constraint, Individual, Moral, Responsibility
To cite this article
Moral Responsibility Reconsidered: Integrating Chance, Choice and Constraint, International Journal of Philosophy.
Vol. 7, No. 2,
2019, pp. 48-54.
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ward G, Burns K (2017) The Vietnam war: an intimate history. Knopf, New York.
Cross G (2002) An all-consuming century: why commercialism won in modern America. Columbia University Press, New York.
Garfield L (2018) Mark Zuckerberg once made a $100 million investment in a major US city to help fix its schools – now the mayor says the effort ‘parachuted’ in and failed. businessinsider.com, May 12.
Talbert M (2016) Moral responsibility: an introduction. Polity, Cambridge.
Ceva E, Radoilska L (2018) Dimensions of responsibility. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21:771-773.
Gert B (2006) Common morality: deciding what to do. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Bautz B (2016) What is the common morality, really? Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 26: 29-45.
Azambuja LEOd, Garrafa V (2015) The common morality theory in the work of Beauchamp and Childress. Revista Bioetica 23:632-641.
Cowley C (2014) Moral responsibility. Routledge, London.
Niebuhr HR (1963) The responsible self: an essay in Christian moral philosophy. Harper & Row, New York.
Gronholz S (2018) Moral reasons as other-regarding reasons. Ethical Perspectives 25:285-319.
Eagle A (2011) Deterministic chance. Noûs 45:269-299.
Wiener N (1948) Cybernetics: or control and communication in the animal and machine. MIT Press, Cambridge.
Crnkovic GD (2012) Information and energy/matter. Information 3:751-755.
Fried Y, Agassi J (1976). Paranoia: a study in diagnosis. Reidel, Boston.
Rudnick A (2003). Paranoia and reinforced dogmatism: beyond critical rationality. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33:339-350.
Rudnick A (2015). Choice and criminal responsibility of mentally ill offenders: moral reasoning as a likely mediator related to primary secondary and tertiary prevention. Journal of Psychiatry Reform December 15:1-2.