Being Identical by Being (Treated as) Responsible

  • Michael Quante
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 118)


This paper addresses external aspects of personal autonomy and the self by discussing the role attributions of responsibility play. It is argued that the concepts of responsibility and personal autonomy are, in a Hegelian expression, concepts of reflection, i.e. concepts that can only be explicated in terms of their mutual connection and whose respective content refers to each other. Central to this thesis is the idea of understanding both responsibility and personal autonomy in an ascriptivist sense. Human agents are held responsible for their actions by others. This social practice of being held responsible plays a constitutive role for the development of the evaluative self-relationship that is characteristic of persons and thus for our understanding ourselves as responsible and as autonomous agents. Following that line of thought, a second aim of the paper is then to show that the difficulty an ascriptivist position usually has with our ability to criticize our practice of ascribing responsibility as well as personal autonomy does not necessarily have to appear. For, there are properties and capacities necessary for personal autonomy that have a descriptive content and which can be put to critical use. Moreover, because our concept of personality (or the self) is also relevant in other contexts than that of ascribing responsibility, conditions within such other contexts can be imported as well, thus allowing ourselves to place our practice of ascribing responsibility in a wider and materially richer evaluative context.


Personal Identity Human Person Personal Autonomy Ethical Practice Conceptual Reason 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWestfälische Wilhelms-UniversityMünsterGermany

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