View Single Post
Old 08-24-2019, 04:24 PM
Max S. is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2,674
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
In Shodan's car example, the rich neighbor had nothing to do with the theft or damage, and so has no reason to have any responsibility, to this, I think we should also all agree.
We don't always agree on that, esp. regarding a publicly funded safety net. No personal responsibility here, but there might be other morally compelling reasons for the rich neighbor to pay. It is, after all, unfair to you if Shodan cannot afford to fix what he has caused, and nobody else steps up to fill in the gap. But on the other hand nobody except Shodan is personally responsible for the harm done to you. That's what I mean by personal responsibility versus equity.

Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
So the question is really where between those extremes does your culpability for the harms endured by another end, how liable are you for those harms, and what is your responsibility for making them whole?
My understanding is that fault = culpability = personal responsibility; personal responsibility ∈ responsibility. I would say personal responsibility ends at the first "extreme" you mentioned. If the person is not at fault, they are not personally responsible. In the absence of a specific law, liability should be based on any reasonable guarantees made (explicit or implicit) using 'what a reasonable person would expect' as a fallback. This "reasonable" thing means no gimmicks like, sure I'll babysit your kid but I am not responsible for anything that happens to the kid who is under my care. A person's responsibility for fixing harms is at least their personal liability.

Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
If someone steals a car and gives it to me, then I obviously have to make the owner as whole as I can by giving it back, and if I made any damages to it during my possession, then I should have to pay for those, though the original thief would be held much more responsible.
If the thief gave you stolen property, you do not necessarily have to give that property back. Pretend someone embezzled my life savings and gave it to a charity, which distributed it among needy families. Let's say it took law enforcement a year to track down the money. Those families bought houses and had children, assuming they had charity money to help them out. Are those families personally responsible for the loss of my life savings? Not in the slightest. Am I in the right to call back those funds? Absolutely not.

Now to the embezzler. Does she have the funds to repay me? No. Can she work out a payment plan? No - now a convicted felon and embezzler, her career skills (bookkeeping) are useless. She can't even afford to live on her own, with the minimum wage as it is.

I lose. Personal responsibility versus equity.

Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
If someone steals a car and gives me a ride to work, then I have benefited from the harm done to the original owner, even if I have not added to it personally in a meaningful quantity. This is the more nebulous area as to what my liability could be, and what sort of recompense the owner could demand from me.
I would say you're off the hook with absolutely zero personal responsibility for the extra miles, unless you knew the car was stolen. No matter what the thief does with the car, he or she is responsible to the owner for a car in the state it was stolen, plus any harms resulting from the absence of the car, plus any benefits derived from usage of the stolen car. This is much like a loan with principal and interest, plus turning over 100% profit.