Philosophy, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 1972


Southern Journal of Philosophy (Spring 1972) 10: 97-99.


Copyright 1972, Wiley. Used by permission.


The causal and the social concepts of responsibility share the notions of (a) a causal agent, and (b) some effect for which the agent is a cause. But William L. Blizek argues that the social concept has an additional element not shared by the causal concept: that of an adjudicator, someone who imputes responsibility. Thus he writes, “social responsibility is not a relationship between cause and effect, but a relationship between an agent and some consequence, as prescribed by an adjudicator.” He points out that our judgments of the different kind of social responsibility may change, as the society changes; redefinition of social responsibilities by a society is thus both a reflection of social change and a mechanism by which it may take place.