Footnote [4] of J. Schummer: "Ethics of Chemical Synthesis", HYLE, 7 (2001), p. 103-124.

(This file uses the character set "utf-8". If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer and encounter difficulties, try this version)

[4]  E.g., French (responsabilité – répondre), Italian (responsabilità – rispondere), Spanish (responsabilitad – responder), Portuguese (responsabilidade – responder), Romanian (responsabilitate – a răspunde), German (Verantwortung – antworten), Dutch (verantwoordelijkheid – antwoorden), Danish (ansvar – svare), Swedish (ansvar – svara), Norwegian (ansvar – svare), Polish (odpowiedzialność – odpoviadać), Czech (odpovĕdnost – odpovĕdĕt), Serbo-Croat (odgovórnōost – odgovòriti), Bulgarian (отговорност – отговарям), Russian (ответственность – отвечать), Latvian (atbildîba – atbildçt), Estonian (vastutus – vastama), Finnish (vastuu – vastata), Ungarian (felelõsség – felel), Albanian (përgjegjësi – përgjegjem). In Turkish, sorum (responsibility) derives from sorulmak (being asked) and thus refers to the same context from another perspective. Only in Greek, the term for responsibility, ευϑύνη, has different origins and connotations; it also means blame, burden, and charge and goes back to old Greek ευ and ϑύω, which combines to making well a burnt offering as a penance. Strangely enough, most philosophers have ignored the meaning of ‘responsible’ in the sense of answerable. For two counter-examples see E. Bodenheimer, Philosophy of Responsibility, Fred & Rothman, Littleton, 1980, pp. 5-8; J.R. Lucas, Responsibility, Clarendon, Oxford, 1995, pp. 5-12. Both authors relate the English term ‘responsible’ etymologically to Latin ‘respondere’ and to instituions in Roman law. However, it is not sure if the meaning in other European languages can so easily be related to Roman law; the more as there is no Latin term for responsibility in this sense.

Back to main text