Relations of Responsibility
This chapter assesses some aspects of Antony Duff's relational theory of responsibility in the criminal law. It discusses the relationality of the very concept of responsibility. On this front there is little that divides us, and the chapter is restricted to commenting on the connections between Duff's explanation and the one given in this chapter, which is not a rival. This conceptual relationality is distinguished from a very different justificatory relationality, which also looms large in Duff's work. Here the chapter finds much to take issue with. It suggests that Duff has severe difficulties in maintaining the justificatory relationality to which he is officially committed when he comes to discuss concrete examples from the law. And that is because justificatory relationality is very difficult to maintain. While relational considerations do figure in justifying some responsibility relations, these considerations are mostly out of place in the criminal law, where relations of responsibility are grounded mostly in relations of authority.
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