“capacity … to
respond [appropriately] to normative demands” (2008, p. 462).
However, there are people whom we would normally
praise for their responsibility despite the fact that they do not yet
possess such a capacity (e.g. consistently wellbehaved young children),
and others who have such capacity but who are still patently
irresponsible (e.g. some badly-behaved adults). Thus, I argue that to
qualify for the accolade “a responsible person” one need not possess
such a capacity, but only to be earnestly willing to do the right thing
and to have a history that testifies to this willingness. Although we
may have good reasons to prefer to have such a capacity ourselves, and
to associate ourselves with others who have it, at a conceptual level I
do not think that such considerations support the claim that having this
capacity is a
necessary condition of being a responsible person
in the virtue sense.