Commentary on “Treatment and Accountability”

Derek BAKER*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterCommunication


Victor Tadros, in this chapter, draws attention to significant overlap in our practices of providing treatment to irresponsible wrongdoers, on the one hand, and our practices of holding the responsible to account, on the other. Alternately, how little space there is between treatment and holding accountable. This should be surprising. Much of Strawson’s argument presupposes that we have implicit familiarity with the difference, and with how significant it is. We become angry with the responsible; whereas we take a more detached perspective to children, the seriously impaired, or mentally ill, whom we regard as objects of treatment or management. These are supposed to represent two fundamentally distinct forms of engagement. If Tadros is right, this sense of a massive gulf in how it is appropriate to treat the responsible versus the exempt is an illusion. The actual difference is subtle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanson Lectures in Bioethics (2016-2022)
Subtitle of host publicationAssisted Suicide, Responsibility, and Pandemic Ethics
EditorsHon-Lam LI
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)9783031420528
ISBN (Print)9783031420511
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2024


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