4An Ethical Perspective on Responsibility and Freedom

In the previous chapters, we have reported some of the most important interpretations on the concept of responsibility in order to underline their differences as well as their common features. I emphasized how the latter can be identified with the logical and ontological assumption according to which responsibility is always the consequence of a corresponding freedom. In other words, freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

The polysemy that characterizes responsibility offers a range of acceptions that respond to the different articulations of freedom.

Paul Ricoeur’s hypothesis, for which responsibility represents a development of the original phenomenon of imputation of an action to its agent, has proven to be correct with regard to the conceptions that we have analyzed. To take account of someone for something or even to ascribe an action to him, we presuppose the possibility of connecting an action to an agent. This also implies that an agent is characterized as in possession of capacities that enable him to act, that make him a person in the most abstract sense of the term. However, this implication concerns a human factor given that the action cannot be considered as a mechanical event because it would prescind from the will. The will is an aspect that was introduced first by Rousseau and then, in a different way, by Kant. The will, though, cannot be confined into a subjective stance but must be inserted ...

Get Responsibility and Freedom now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.