Toward a New (Old) Theory of Responsibility: Moving beyond Accountability

  • Daryl Koehn

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Daryl Koehn
    Pages 27-42
  3. Daryl Koehn
    Pages 43-60
  4. Daryl Koehn
    Pages 61-80
  5. Daryl Koehn
    Pages 81-89

About this book


This book offers a much needed overview of the neglected notion of responsibility.  Instead of offering vague talk about “individual responsibility” or “corporate responsibility,” Daryl Koehn examines in detail four accounts of responsibility, taking care to specify what responsibility does and does not mean in each account.  She argues for a return to the ancient concept of Socratic dialogical responsibility, a concept that avoids many of the problems inherent in the other accounts.  

After examining the Anglo-American criminal legal system’s treatment of responsibility as intentional agency, she critiques Hans Jonas’s concept of responsibility as ontological care and Hannah Arendt’s notion of communicative responsibility.  She provides a careful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach to responsibility.  The final chapter makes the case for Socratic dialogical responsibility.  Dialogical responsibility has many strengths in its own right and avoids the major pitfalls of the other notions of responsibility examined in the book.  It serves as an eminently practical way to hold ourselves responsible for our actions and speech.   In addition, dialogical responsibility alone qualifies as a virtue integral to the good life. 


Why We Need Ethics Theory of Responsibility Care for the World Platonic Dialogical Responsibility Individual responsibility Corporate responsibility Anglo-American legal system concept of intentional responsibility Malicious intent Moral duty to care for the world Hans Jonas Hannah Arendt Dialogical responsibility Responsibility in the business sector Plato Criminal responsibility Evil behaviour Plato’s dialogues the Charmides and the Greater Hippias Live a life worth living Responsible for your actions

Authors and affiliations

  • Daryl Koehn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-16736-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-16737-0
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-8101
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-811X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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