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date: 28 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses different uses of ‘responsibility’ in our everyday social, moral, and legal discourse. Moral responsibility serves as a template for more institutionalized forms of responsibility, thus the capacities it presupposes and its criteria of liability can illuminate other forms. The article further discusses criminal responsibility, notably the problems of finding an adequate theory of criminal legislation, appropriate response, and criteria of responsibility. It shows that the periodic oscillations between managerial and retributive approaches to punishment reflect a deeper debate about the nature of state–social relations. The article focuses on the debate in tort theory between instrumentalist and corrective justice views. The aim of the article is to show how a relational understanding of responsibility clarifies the debates within tort theory.

Keywords: moral responsibility, liability, criminal responsibility, state–social relations, tort theory

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