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A Plural Theory on Responsibility in International Relations

Baron, Ilan Zvi (2021) 'A Plural Theory on Responsibility in International Relations.', in The Routledge Handbook on Responsibility in International Relations. London: Routledge, pp. 31-42.


This chapter offers an outline for a plural theory of responsibility. Responsibility is what someone does and who someone is. One is responsible. You are responsible. One acts responsibly. Responsibility is ontological and phenomenological, and the actual content of what it means to be or to act responsibility varies considerably based on context. Responsibility is a form of activity, and as such our understanding of what being responsible means changes according to the different conditions we find ourselves needing to act. I offer five accounts. The first is about causality and liability and treats responsibility as a combination of agency and accountability. The second is how we are responsible because of our membership in various but specific communities. The third is what I term the political responsibility of identity. The fourth is ontological and frames responsibility as an ethical consequence of our being as opposed to our not-being. The fifth is political responsibility as political ethics.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 30 January 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Handbook on Responsibility in International Relations on 30 July 2021, available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:13 January 2022
Date of first online publication:30 July 2021
Date first made open access:30 January 2023

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