Rethinking Moral Responsibility

A.H. Vedder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Questions regarding the moral responsibility of Internet access and service providers relating to possible negative aspects of information on the Internet call for a reassessment of the ways in which we think about attributing blame, guilt, and duties of reparation and compensation. They invite us to borrow something similar to the idea of strict liability from the legal sphere and to introduce it to morality and ethical theory. Lifting such a category from the domain of law and introducing it to ethics, however, is a difficult thing. Doing so seems to conflict with some broadly shared and deeply felt intuitions regarding the individuality of responsibility and the relationship between responsibility and guilt. These convictions coincide with some basic ideas in Kantian moral theory and the ascriptive theory that they entail. In this paper, it is shown that the seriousness of the problems to which the proposed responsibilities relate does not seem to leave room for resignation or aloofness. Furthermore, it is shown that the idea of strict liability is compatible with our traditional ways of attributing moral responsibility in more respects than one may think at first sight.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings for Computer Ethics
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Enquiry (Cepe 2000)
EditorsD. Johnson, J. Moor, H. Tavani
Place of PublicationHanover, New Hampshire
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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