Advertisement

The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 20, Issue 1–3, pp 279–298 | Cite as

Role Responsibility

  • Peter CaneEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article is about ‘role responsibility’ as understood by H. L. A. Hart in his taxonomy of responsibility concepts in his book, Punishment and Responsibility. More particularly, it focuses on what I call ‘public, institutional role responsibility’. The main arguments are that (1) such role responsibility is based on authority and power rather than physical and mental capacity; and (2) the foundation of role responsibility in authority has significant implications for what Hart referred to as ‘liability–responsibility’, which I unpack in terms of ‘attribution’, ‘accountability’ and ‘liability’. The article addresses possible objections to the authority-based analysis of role responsibility based on the concept of ‘moral’ responsibility, and on understandings of what types of question are ‘philosophical.’

Keywords

Authority Capacity H. L. A. Hart Law and morality Ministerial responsibility Philosophical questions Responsibility Role responsibility P. F. Strawson 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Distinguished Professor of Law, ANU College of Law, Australian National University. I have benefited greatly from discussions with Tony Connolly and Leighton McDonald. I am particularly grateful to Tony, who (as ever) constructively challenged me to simplify and clarify the argument.

References

  1. Bovens, Mark. 1998. The quest for responsibility: Accountability and citizenship in complex organisations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Boyron, Sophie. 2013. The constitution of France: A contextual analysis. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Brazier, Rodney. 1997. Ministers of the crown. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, David, and Philip Thomas (eds.). 2001. Fundamental legal conceptions as applied in judicial reasoning by Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  5. Cane, Peter. 2002. Responsibility in law and morality. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Cane, Peter. 2012. Morality, law and conflicting reasons for action. Cambridge Law Journal 71: 59–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cane, Peter. 2013. Public law in the concept of law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 33: 649–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cane, Peter. 2014. Tort law and public functions. In Philosophical foundations of the law of torts, ed. John Oberdiek, 148–168. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deigh, John. 2011. Responsibility. In The Oxford handbook of philosophy of criminal law, ed. John Deigh, and David Dolinko. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Finnis, John. 1980. Natural law and natural rights. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hacker, P.M.S. 1977. Hart’s Philosophy of Law. In Law, morality and society: Essays in honour of HLA Hart, ed. P.M.S. Hacker, and J. Raz. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. 2008. The Federalist papers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hardimon, Michael O. 1994. Role obligations. The Journal of Philosophy 91: 333–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hart, H.L.A. 1961. The concept of law. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hart, H.L.A. 1963. Law, liberty and morality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hart, H.L.A. 1968. Punishment and responsibility. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  17. Himma, Kenneth Einar. 2004. Do philosophy and sociology mix? A non-essentialist socio-legal positivist analysis of the concept of law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 24: 717–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones, David R., and Monika L. McDermott. 2004. The responsible party government model in House and Senate elections. American Journal of Political Science 48: 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plucknett, Theodore F.T. 1956. A concise history of the common law, 5th ed. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.Google Scholar
  20. Power, Michael. 1997. The audit society: Rituals of verification. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Raz, Joseph. 1975. Practical reasons and norms. London: Hutchinson & Co.Google Scholar
  22. Stapleton, Jane. 2015. An extended “but-for” test for causal relation in the law of obligations. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 35: 697–726.Google Scholar
  23. Tamanaha, Brian Z. 2001. A general jurisprudence of law and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Thompson, Dennis F. 2005. Restoring responsibility: Ethics in government, business and healthcare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Weinrib, Ernest J. 1995. The idea of private law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Williamson, Timothy. 2007. The philosophy of philosophy. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations