A sound mind would naturally suppose it had not created itself, i.e. absolutely designed its own fertilised egg and subsequent nurture.

Then it is inconceivable that anything is responsible for whatever it is.

There is also the issue of inactions which are far more numerous and no less influential than actions.

  • Why should being responsible for one's actions require being responsible for one's own "design" and nurture? That would only make sense if design and nurture completely predetermine the actions. But then we have hard determinism and responsibility is moot. Otherwise, one is responsible for what one does (when they are of sound mind, i.e. fully what they are), but not for what one is. – Conifold Jul 4 '19 at 4:28
  • Nice q! Of course legally/sociologically/politically one can hardly imagine a system functioning without carrot&stick. And therefore it's justification –responsibility. However from the pov of philosophy (or religion) it's a tendentious assumption. – Rusi-packing-up Jul 4 '19 at 8:30
  • "A sound mind would naturally suppose it had not created itself, i.e. absolutely designed its own fertilised egg and subsequent nurture." What does it mean ? – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jul 4 '19 at 9:52
  • See Moral Responsibility. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jul 4 '19 at 10:13
  • Legal responsibility is only partially derived from some moral framework. For the most part legal systems are based on what have worked in the past to prevent anarchy. - And welcome to Philosophy SE! – christo183 Jul 4 '19 at 11:58

One could argue for responsibility for one's actions in multiple ways.

The easiest would be to say we intuitively assign responsibility to our own and other's actions, which can be seen from our pride, praise, contempt, etc. for actions. Therefore, since moral responsibility is intuitive or self-evident, the burden of proof is on the opposition.

But, of course, there are reasons to support moral responsibility.

Maybe the pragmatic one comes to mind first. That is, our society would hardly function without responsibility and subsequent reward or punishment.

However, the crux of the matter is your implication of determinism.

And determinism isn't such a sound theory since its correctness cannot be knowable (you could also say it's self-refuting), or of anything for that matter, assuming it is true (If determinism is true, you are predetermined to believe everything you believe).

When you assume free will, you immediately assume responsibility for everything you do. And if someone brings himself into an unsound state of mind, he is responsible for that too.

  • Briefly:Nothing has responsibility for itself because nothing is able to create itself. It follows that everything is innocent, just evolved by mutual nurture, doing what it has to do. This is hard determinism. Effectively there is no responsibility except with the original cause. But whether the notion of contemporaneous “responsibility” is in the nature of the beast and/or cultured in us, it serves to discipline our behaviours by the prospect of gaining or losing social advantage. I create my environment that creates me. – Jim Lobb Jul 4 '19 at 13:22
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    @JimLobb: Responsibility is usually ascribed to actions not whole lives. Also, it is not the fertilisation of my mother's egg that is able to dance, sing, and write or to hurt, love, and protect. You are simply using the words in a way they should not be used and thinking that this constitutes philosophical insight. As Wittgenstein insightfully stated, philosophical problems arise out of a wrong usage of language. If you would take your position seriously, talking about "discipline", "prospect", "creation" is nonsense. All these are about intention, which does not exist in hard determinism – Philip Klöcking Jul 4 '19 at 13:28
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    Taking we have no free will everything you said is unnecessary and you can just say you aren't responsible for your actions. Taking we have free will there is absolutely no reason to ignore responsibility. We do have free will. – Glorius Jul 4 '19 at 13:41

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