Responsibility Matters

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"This is a well-written, inventive and often delightful book that breaks new ground in some awfully well-trodden and often tedious territory. I love how French draws on movies, literature, and ordinary conversation to set up and sometimes help resolve philosophical discussions. His use of literature is excellent—Dickens on space and time, for example—and his philosophical follow-ups are challenging. This book will cause a stir and excite some real discussion."—Robert C. Solomon, author of Passion for Justice: Emotion and the Origins of the Social Contract

"French is clearly the most important American moral philosopher writing on the concept of responsibility. His essays are witty, sophisticated, and curmudgeonly. He sets the terms of the debate for the rest of us."—Larry May, author of Sharing Responsibility

"Intriguing and stimulating throughout. French's scope is remarkably broad; he ties together issues and work in metaphysics, ethics, political and legal theory, and literature. By broadening the domain of analysis, he has made a useful contribution to the ongoing debates about the nature of moral responsibility."—John Martin Fischer, editor of Moral Responsibility

Author Biography: Peter A. French holds the Lincoln Chair in Ethics and is Director of the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University. Among his other books are The Virtues of Vengeance, also from Kansas; Corporate Ethics; and Cowboy Metaphysics: Ethics and Death in Westerns.

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Editorial Reviews

French (humanities and philosophy, Trinity U.) investigates a variety of matters relating to responsibility--from theoretical aspects and elements of the concept of responsibility to specific areas of application and general issues in moral theory. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700606269
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 234
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Principles of Responsibility Ascription and the Responsibility Barter Game 1
2 Responsibility, Retaliation, and Tit for Tat 18
3 Losing Innocence for the Sake of Responsibility 29
4 Fate and Responsibility 44
5 Time, Space, and Shame 55
6 Power, Control, and Group Situations: And Then There Were None? 71
7 The Responsibility of Inactive Fictive Groups for Great Social Problems 79
8 Hobbes and the Hobbits: A Short Excursion into British Literary Foundations for a Lesson in Political Responsibility 85
9 The Wasteland: Whose Responsibility? 95
10 Exorcising the Demon of Cultural Relativism 102
11 Moral Responsibility and Heroism 111
12 The Burke of a Mill 122
13 Law's Concept of Personhood: The Corporate and the Human Person 134
14 Better Off Unborn? 146
15 Faustian Bargains 158
16 Enforced Corporate Responsive Adjustment 165
17 The Responsibilities of Military Law, or How to Make Military Justice Just 178
18 Dinner with Auden 197
Notes 213
Index 227
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