Creating the Kingdom of Ends: Reciprocity and Responsibility in Personal Relations
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CitationKorsgaard, Christine. 1992. Creating the kingdom of ends: Reciprocity and responsibility in personal relations. Philosophical Perspectives 6: 305-332.
AbstractWhen we hold a person responsible, we regard her as answerable for her actions, reaction, and attitudes. We use the concept of responsibility in two contexts, the legal and the personal. We use it in the legal context when we must determine whether to punish someone for a crime or make him liable for another's losses. We use it in the context of everyday personal interaction, when we are pressed to decide what attitude we will take toward another, or toward some action of reaction of another. It is frequently assumed that these two uses are the same or at least continuous. Because I have doubts about this, and some worries about the appropriateness of using hte notion in the legal context, I want to lay that use aside. In this paper, my focus will be on our practice of holding people responsibly in the context of personal relations. I begin by offering an account of personal relations, derived from Kant and Aristotle, along with an explanation of why they require us to hold one another responsibly. I then distinguish two views about what holding someone responsible involves. Specifically, I argue that to hold someone responsible is to adopt an attitude towards him rather to have a belief about him or about the conditions under which he acts. This view gives rise to a problem: if holding someone responsible is something that we do, why and how do we decide to do it? In the rest of the paper, I argue that Kant's theory of personal and moral relations provides some answers to this question.
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