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On "I": the conceptual foundations of responsibility
Am J Psychiatry 1980;137:417-422.
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Abstract

In clinical practice, great emphasis is placed on the patient's being responsible, yet the conceptual bases of this therapeutic posture are obscure. The author examines the conceptual foundations of responsibility by focusing on the subjective "I". Although "I" is widely considered to be an empty term, signifying only an illusory "ghost in the machine," the author argues that our acquaintance with "I" is acceptable at face value. "I" is strictly identified with the tacit, rule-governed, grammatical actions of distinguishing (or meaning) that constitute the experienced personal world. The author discusses the clinically important distinction between "having" and "assuming" responsibility.

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