Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 4, pp 989–998 | Cite as

Three faces of responsibility? Comments on responsibility from the margins

  • Gary WatsonEmail author


This rich and wide-ranging book defends a “tripartite theory” of responsibility. The general thesis is that responsibility-responses (understood as families of sentimental reactions to others in their capacity as actors or holders of particular attitudes) fall into three overlapping categories, each of which presumes distinct agential capacities. On the basis of a close examination of various sorts of marginal agency, these capacities are said to be independent and ground what deserves to be called distinct types or “faces” of responsibility. The first face, attributability, depends on a capacity for character, answerability on a capacity for judgment, and accountability on a capacity for “regard”. This commentary questions the theory’s account of the relations among the types of responsibility, and its attempt to ground responsibility-responses in qualities of “will”.


Admiration/disdain Anger/gratitude Care-commitment clusters Pride/regret Tripartite theory 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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