, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 129-130,
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Date: 17 May 2012

Responsibility Revisited

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Recent developments in medicine open up new possibilities for planning and shaping life. At the same time, this scope of new options and interventions also involves new forms and spheres of responsibilities. Elderly persons can be viewed as having a responsibility toward their families and partners to plan, via advance health care directives, the final stages of their life; individuals can be seen as responsible for late onset diseases when ignoring public incitements for a healthy life style; and medical professionals can be regarded as responsible for “wrongful” lives.

These new forms of responsibility concern medical professionals, patients, families, and even society in general. The emerging idea of “responsibilisation” by the new politics of “life itself”—as Rose (2006) termed it—warrants more attention and reflection. However, in bioethics, the term is notoriously unclear. This thematic issue of Medicine Studies tries therefore to explore the multiple meanings of responsibility in