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Responsibility is a concept and a value with multiple but intuitively well-understood meanings. Prime among these is probably its legal use, in which criminals or anybody else accused of committing a crime have to be shown to be responsible for the action in question, where responsibility takes in deliberate intention and purpose on the part of the miscreant, as well as moral capacity, intelligence and reason. It is a legitimate defence for a prisoner to plead ‘diminished responsibility’ due to loss of faculties or of wits; in everyday parlance, to hold persons responsible for something must mean that they knew what they were doing (or had failed to do) and were indeed capable of performing or not performing the action for which responsibility is ...

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