Social responsibility is responsibility to people and promises or commitments they have been given. It's the same thing as a call of duty. A duty can be situational ("I’ve promised - means I will make it", "If you make promise then keep it") or intrinsic to a social role or status.
Social responsibility doesn't assume that a person can choose: he just carries out duties, his personal roles. He can choose a role itself. But having chosen it he ought to submit himself to it, or he will gain the character of an irresponsible person. Therefore social responsibility can be called role responsibility. Theoretically a person is limited to one choice of a role at the beginning and he follows it up to the end. This makes life clearer and simpler as you get rid of continious analysis of your actions.
Philosophical study of the problem of responsibility gained greater development thanks to the modern scientific –and-technical revolution (STR) and its achievements. But the STR had not only positive effects for the society. Mass destruction weaponization on the basis and with the help of contemporary science and technology made the idea of self-destruction quite real. A serious problem of the negative impact on the habitat of the technologies and substances created by people was stated by the beginning of the 70s, XX century. Present day scientific and technical progress (STP), practically uncontrolled, can make our environment absolutely unsuitable for life and put an end to the existence not only of the person but also of all flesh on Earth.
According to V. M. Rozin control over NTP is becoming an imperative need, a matter of life and death today. There is no doubt that the most important lever of this control can be used via a comprehensive study of the problem of responsibility, and respectively via deep understanding of this problem and accurate formation of a moral and ethical code by the scientist and technician. Therefore this problem has been posed more and more persistently in recent years to the front line of philosophical and other researches. It is becoming one of the central problems in both philosophy of science and philosophy of technology.
From long ago such kinds of responsibility as moral, legal and professional were distinguished. Let’s consider the first one.
The moral responsibility is inalienable, complete, personal. It can't be impersonal, that is not having originality, characteristic distinctive features. It remains individual even when it is imputed to all collectives.
Responsibility in the meaning of a moral duty in traditional ethics was understood:
a) as attitude of a person towards another person;
b) as the duty imposed by the moral law to the present (the living people) and the past (reminiscence of ancestors, traditions) but, as a rule, not to the future (future generations).
However during a modern scientific and technological revolution people start to realize the responsibility for possible consequences of their own activity or inactivity more and more distinctly. Therefore, we may say that along with modern NTP there is a need for revision of the concept of responsibility in the direction of these borders basic expansion that they could cover the future.
It isn't surprising that the moral responsibility at the present stage of NTP is put in the forefront. The social role of the scientist, the engineer and the designer is growing in a modern society. In the final ultimate goal technicians are guided by the principle of persistent service to people without causing damage to other people and nature. The equipment can't be considered as neutral in value any more. It must meet not only technical needs but also to be economic, actual, safe for human health and nature, etc.
This theoretical question if transferred to the social sphere is getting practical importance. The engineer must listen not only to the voice of scientists and technical specialists, to the voice of his own conscience, but also to public opinion. Each time when he makes any certain technical decision, he assumes moral responsibility for it, especially if the wrong decision causes negative consequences. Eventually even bare technical standards serve to achieve safety and reliability of the equipment produced.
Mironov V. V., Russian philosopher, Doctor of Philosophy and honored professor of Moscow State University by Lomonosov noted the fact that when the moral responsibility of the individual is dissolving in the responsibility of the society in general, it becomes irresponsibility. It can be seen most prominent in creation of difficult technical constructions (buildings, equipment). They are developed by a huge number of qualified specialists - engineers, scientists, designers, heads of various ranks. When a certain participant of this large-scale creation process feels responsibility only for some part of a product, but not for a complex in general, he is not abdicant from the responsibility for unreliable functioning of the whole system no matter what position he occupies in the group of developers. Wrong approach to business along with negligence cause danger to the people operating this system, or harm for environment.
A German-French doctor, a Protestant theologian and a philosopher of culture Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was one of the first who realized the necessity to state responsibility on an equal basis with other disciplines. A. Schweitzer developed the "awe of life" concept. According to it the idea of worship (responsibility) for life in general has to become not only a keynote of all philosophy, but also the highest moral ethical principle, the basic law defining the general character and orientation of human activity.
Statements and ideas of a number of modern researchers of a philosophical image of equipment, such as Günter Anders, Hans Yohanes, etc. are consonant with Schweitzer's "awe of life" concept and its moral, ecological and even space imperatives.
The above-stated examples formed a major foundation for formation of a number of new nonconventional courses in ethics such as, for example, bioethics, medical ethics, ecological (including space) ethics, nuclear ethics, computer ethics.