Are We Ultimately Responsible For Our Actions?

It is a habitually held belief that responsibility, most frequently understood as ‘duty or obligation for which a person is held accountable’, rests fundamentally upon free will. To this day, the nature of ethics, human condition and the extent to which we maintain control of our actions is an avidly altercated topic. Before discussing the question, a distinction must be made between types of choices. Undetermined choices, including raising your arm, or stepping outside, are choices that are not necessary, and not behavioural. The choices entertained within this essay are the moral kind: their consequences can be deemed correct or incorrect by society.


For a person to be deemed ‘responsible’ for a moral choice, therefore, the action would have to be committed under circumstances wherein these three conditions are true: first, the effectuator has freedom or free will to act as a rational agent, second, the action’s consequences can be deemed praiseworthy or blameworthy, and third, the effectuator’s accountability can be judged based on ‘shared system of social norms’. I argue that when these cases are proved, people are ultimately responsible for the