The Triadic Relational Structure of Responsibility: A Defence

Alon Harel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The central characteristic of responsibility as developed by Duff is the 'triadic relational concept' consisting of a relation between an agent A who is responsible for something X to somebody S and in virtue of being a member of a unit of responsibility, e.g., a neighbourhood or a state. This chapter rejects several justifications for Duff's theory of responsibility and justifies the triadic relational structure of responsibility in terms of self governance. Under this justification, individuals conduct their lives in different spheres. Each sphere is governed by a community that engages in an enterprise consisting of a thick set of norms and practices. It is important that it is primarily members of the community who ultimately determine the content of these norms and practices. By conforming to the dictates of the triadic relational structure one guards the rights of members (of the unit of responsibility) to govern themselves.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCrime, Punishment, and Responsibility
Subtitle of host publicationThe Jurisprudence of Antony Duff
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191729034
ISBN (Print)9780199592814
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The several contributors, 2011. All rights reserved.


  • Civic responsibilities
  • Criminal law theory
  • Criminal responsibility
  • Liability
  • Liberal theory of punishment
  • Punishment
  • Responsibility
  • Self governance
  • Triadic relational structure of responsibility


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