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Responsibility vs Ethical Responsibility

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Is there a difference between responsibility and ethical responsibility? Somehow I think that there is some sort of distinction, but I don't really know how to explain it, neither can I give specific examples. It's like something is your responsibility but not necessarily ethical responsibility and vice versa. Does this make sense? :question:

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yeah i chose this same topic for my TOK it isnt quite easy as i thought it would be.....

some material that really helped my out with research was "the philosophy gym" by Stephen Law. this book really has a lot of information about ethical responsibility and knowledge... i realise you're going to look at this question from a different perspective that me but i really think this book would help you out :)

but to answer your question how does responsibility differ from ethical responsibility... i'll give you an example and you can work from there

Ethical Responsibility,

suppose that you have come across some information about a person who has been imprisoned for murder. now the information that you possess (knowledge) can potentially help this person be freed from his death sentence.... it is your ethical obligation to give this information to save the man.

Responsibility,

Suppose that you are taking a driving lesson from a teacher. now if you get into an accident, by law, your teacher is responsible for your actions while you drive under his/her supervision... in the context of this example, your teacher is responsible for your actions and he is responsible for your safety.

same with a pilot.... it is his responsibility to bring you to your destination safely.

maybe this wasn't a whole lot helpful but i hope you get the general idea

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"Since you possess knowledge on how animals are slaughtered, it is you ethical responsibility to be vegetarian, or at least not eat that type of meat. This does not mean that your responsibility is to be a vegetarian."

Does it makes sense, or am I getting confused, and it really is the same thing?

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The law says that when a natural person dies, his estate and assets are given to his successor per his will under the Testator and Wills Act.

Now, X died and according to his will, everything should go to Y. But Y is the person who killed X. Y confessed to having killed X. But Y made it clear that he didn't kill X for the estate, Y didn't even know that he was willed to receive X's estate and he killed X for some completely unrelated reason and this explanation was held up in Y's criminal trial where he was found guilty and sentenced for murdering X based on that unrelated motive alone. Should Y still inherit the estate?

The judge in this case has a responsibility to bequeath the estate to Y according to the law, but he has an ethical responsibility based on the principles of natural justice to ensure that a murderer does not inherit from his victim's estate.

Edited by Arrowhead
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I loveeeee that example, Arrowhead. (Y) Do you think that it would require more ethical responsibility from the judge if Y killed X for the inheritance? From now on I think this thread just leads to a discussion and not just answering my question...

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. :gathering:

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I loveeeee that example, Arrowhead. (Y) Do you think that it would require more ethical responsibility from the judge if Y killed X for the inheritance? From now on I think this thread just leads to a discussion and not just answering my question...

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. :gathering:

Well, if we're still following an interpretation based on the law, if Y had killed X expressly to inherit the estate, he automatically forfeits his inheritance under the terms of forfeiture of the Testator and Wills Act. Hence, I had specified in my example that the motive behind the murder was completely unrelated to the inheritance.

Leaving aside this fictitious scenario, I recently attended a preliminary hearing of a real case that demonstrates the fluctuation between responsibility and ethical responsibility quite admirably. The facts of this case are a bit meandering, so pay close attention.

Mrs. Wareworth was an ageing old woman with reduced mental capacity in her latter years. She recently died in 2009 at the age of 92, when succumbing to her dementia and killing herself in a panic attack. Mrs. Wareworth has no children and her husband died in the war years ago. Her only living family is a cluster of three grand-nephews and their families who currently live in Wales. Since 1998, Mrs. Wareworth has had a friend in Mr. Allendale. Mr. A has been Mrs. W.'s accountant and confidant since as long as he had known her. Before Mr. A. met Mrs. W., the latter's will stipulated that upon her death, all her substantial assets and wealth were to be equally distributed between her three grand-nephews, her charity, and her church. However, in 2003, she changed her will and now it reads that 33% of her estate is to go to Mr. A and the remaining 67% equally divided between the aforementioned three parties.

Upon her death, it was discovered that Mr. A., in lieu of taking care of her, had been stealing from Mrs. W. for years and sequestering the money in his own account. He confessed to the criminal charges against him for theft in 2011.

Now we face a dilemma, Mrs. W. enacted her new will before she was declared medically unfit, therefore the new will is valid. The judge in this case has a responsibility to enforce this will, however, if he does so, the estate's thief Mr. A., will not only regain all the money he had stolen and had to return, but he would also be the majority recipient of Mrs. W.'s estate. Nonetheless, if the judge employs his reason towards the ends of natural justice, he would have to nullify the will, per his ethical responsibility, and the estate would be frozen and be absorbed by the Crown. Mrs. W.'s grand-nephews, her charity and her church would be out by nearly £6,000,000 in total if this were done and it would not be fair to them.

So what should the judge do? There is responsibility and ethical responsibility on both sides, spawning an ethical dilemma in this particular case.

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