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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 20, 1995

Susan Leigh Anderson
Pages 451-462

Being Morally Responsible for an Action Versus Acting Responsibly or Irresponsibly

In her article “Asymmetrical Freedom,” and more recently in her book Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf claims to have given us a new theory to account for when we can be held morally responsible for our actions. I believe that she has confused “being morally responsible for an action” with “acting responsibly or irresponsibly.” I will argue that Wolf has given us a nice analysis of the latter concepts, but not of the former one as she intended. I do not believe that she is alone in not appreciating the distinction between these different concepts, but I wiII focus on her work as being a particularly good example of how confusing them can lead to an incorrect account of moral responsibility.

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