A practical account of self-defence

Law and Philosophy 29 (3):245-272 (2010)
Abstract
I argue that any successful account of permissible self- defence must be action-guiding, or practical . It must be able to inform people’s deliberation about what they are permitted to do when faced with an apparent threat to their lives. I argue that this forces us to accept that a person can be permitted to use self-defence against Apparent Threats: characters whom a person reasonably, but mistakenly, believes threaten her life. I defend a hybrid account of self-defence that prioritises an agent’s subjective perspective. I argue that it is sufficient to render the use of defence permissible if an agent reasonably believes that (a) she is morally innocent, and (b) if she does not kill this person, then they will kill her. I argue that the correct account of self-defence must distinguish between whether an agent is permitted to inflict harm, and whether the target is liable to bear that harm.
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Kimberly Kessler Ferzan (2013). Provocateurs. Criminal Law and Philosophy 7 (3):597-622.
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