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  1. Self-Defense, Justification and Excuse.Larry Alexander - 1993 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (1):53-66.
  2. Material Contribution, Responsibility, and Liability.Christian Barry - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    In her inventive and tightly argued book Defensive Killing, Helen Frowe defends the view that bystanders—those who do not pose threats to others—cannot be liable to being harmed in self-defence or in defence of others. On her account, harming bystanders always infringes their rights against being harmed, since they have not acted in any way to forfeit them. According to Frowe, harming bystanders can be justified only when it constitutes a lesser evil. In this brief essay, I make the case (...)
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  3. Non-Combatant Immunity and War-Profiteering.Saba Bazargan - 2017 - In Helen Frowe & Lazar Seth (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and War. Oxford University Press.
    The principle of noncombatant immunity prohibits warring parties from intentionally targeting noncombatants. I explicate the moral version of this view and its criticisms by reductive individualists; they argue that certain civilians on the unjust side are morally liable to be lethally targeted to forestall substantial contributions to that war. I then argue that reductivists are mistaken in thinking that causally contributing to an unjust war is a necessary condition for moral liability. Certain noncontributing civilians—notably, war-profiteers—can be morally liable to be (...)
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  4. Killing Minimally Responsible Threats.Saba Bazargan - 2014 - Ethics 125 (1):114-136.
    Minimal responsibility threateners are epistemically justified but mistaken in thinking that imposing a nonnegligible risk on others is permissible. On standard accounts, an MRT forfeits her right not to be defensively killed. I propose an alternative account: an MRT is liable only to the degree of harm equivalent to what she risks causing multiplied by her degree of responsibility. Harm imposed on the MRT above that amount is justified as a lesser evil, relative to allowing the MRT to kill her (...)
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  5. Weighing Lives in War- Foreign Vs. Domestic.Saba Bazargan-Forward - 2018 - In Larry May (ed.), Cambridge Handbook on the Just War. pp. 186-198.
    I argue that the lives of domestic and enemy civilians should not receive equal weight in our proportionality calculations. Rather, the lives of enemy civilians ought to be “partially discounted” relative to the lives of domestic civilians. We ought to partially discount the lives of enemy civilians for the following reason (or so I argue). When our military wages a just war, we as civilians vest our right to self-defense in our military. This permits our military to weigh our lives (...)
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  6. Dignity, Self-Respect, and Bloodless Invasions.Saba Bazargan-Forward - 2017 - In Ryan Jenkins & Bradley Strawser (eds.), Who Should Die? The Ethics of Killing in War. Oxford University Press.
    In Chapter 7, “Dignity, Self-Respect, and Bloodless Invasions”, Saba Bazargan-Forward asks How much violence can we impose on those attempting to politically subjugate us? According to Bazargan-Forward, “reductive individualism” answers this question by determining how much violence one can impose on an individual wrongly attempting to prevent one from political participation. Some have argued that the amount of violence one can permissibly impose in such situations is decidedly sub-lethal. Accordingly, this counterintuitive response has cast doubt on the reductive individualist project. (...)
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  7. Defensive Liability Without Culpability.Saba Bazargan-Forward - 2016 - In Christian Coons & Michael Weber (eds.), The Ethics of Self- Defense. Oxford University Press.
    A minimally responsible threatener is someone who bears some responsibility for imposing an objectively wrongful threat, but whose responsibility does not rise to the level of culpability. Minimally responsible threateners include those who knowingly commit a wrongful harm under duress, those who are epistemically justified but mistaken in their belief that a morally risky activity will not cause a wrongful harm, and those who commit a harm while suffering from a cognitive impairment which makes it prohibitively difficult to recognize and (...)
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  8. Reasonable Mistakes and Regulative Norms: Racial Bias in Defensive Harm.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (1):196-217.
    A regulative norm for permissible defense distinguishes the conditions under which we will hold defenders to be innocent of any wrongdoing from those in which we hold them responsible for assault or manslaughter. The norm must strike a fair balance between defenders' security, on the one hand, and other agents’ legitimate claim to live without fear of suffering mistaken defensive harm, on the other. Since agents must make defensive decisions under high pressure and on only partial information, they will sometimes (...)
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  9. Defense with Dignity: How the Dignity of Violent Resistance Informs the Gun Rights Debate.Dan Demetriou - manuscript
    Abstract: Perhaps the biggest disconnect between philosophers and non-philosophers on gun rights is over the importance of arms to our dignitary interests. This essay argues that we have a strong prima facie moral right to resist with dignity and that (with certain qualifications) violent resistance is more dignified than nonviolent resistance. Since in some cases dignified resistance will require violence, and since effective violent resistance will sometimes require guns, we have a strong prima facie right to own or carry guns (...)
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  10. Animal Rights and Self-Defense Theory.John Hadley - 2009 - Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (2):165-177.
    In this paper I bring together self-defense theory and animal rights theory. The extension of self-defense theory to animals poses a serious problem for proponents of animal rights. If, in line with orthodox self-defense theory, a person is a legitimate target for third-party self-defensive violence if they are responsible for a morally unjustified harm without an acceptable excuse; and if, in line with animal rights theory, people that consume animal products are responsible for unjustified harm to animals, then many millions, (...)
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  11. Moral Responsibility for Harming Animals: Hadley Moral Responsibility for Harming Animals.John Hadley - 2009 - Think 8 (22):51-55.
    Third-party intervention has been the focus of recent debate in self-defense theory. When is it permissible for third-parties to intervene on behalf of an innocent victim facing an unjustified attack or threat? In line with recent self-defense theory, if an attacker is morally responsible for their actions and does not have an acceptable excuse then it is permissible for third-parties to use proportionate violence against them.
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  12. How Not to Defend the Unborn.David B. Hershenov & Philip Reed - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    It is sometimes proposed that killing or harming abortion providers is the only logically consistent position available to opponents of abortion. Since lethal violence against morally responsible attackers is normally viewed as justified in order to defend innocent parties, pro-lifers should also think so in the case of the abortion doctor and so they should act to defend the unborn. In our paper, we defend the mainstream pro-life view against killing abortion doctors. We argue that the pro-life view can, in (...)
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  13. In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):859-883.
    How should deontologists concerned with the ethics of killing apply their moral theory when we don’t know all the facts relevant to the permissibility of our action? Though the stakes couldn’t be higher, and uncertainty is endemic where killing is concerned, few deontologists have an answer to this question. In this paper I canvass two possibilities: that we should apply a threshold standard, equivalent to the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard applied for criminal punishment; and that we should fit our (...)
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  14. Response: Limiting Defensive Rights.Seth Lazar - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (1):19-23.
    Arthur Ripstein’s article draws on more resources than I can deploy in this response to it. I will restate what I take to be the central claims of the article, then present a reply. Ripstein does not strictly argue for his view of proportionality in defensive force. Instead he paints a picture of a moral system that one might adopt, and indicates the role of the proportionality constraint therein. So after outlining how I understand that picture, I will draw an (...)
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  15. An African Theory of Just Causes for War.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Luís Rodrigues (ed.), Comparative Just War Theory. Rowman & Littlefield.
    In this chapter, I add to the new body of philosophical literature that addresses African approaches to just war by reflecting on some topics that have yet to be considered and by advancing different perspectives. My approach is to spell out a foundational African ethic, according to which one must treat people’s capacity to relate communally with respect, derive principles from it to govern the use of force and violence, and compare and contrast their implications for war with other recent (...)
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  16. Beyond Moral Responsibility and Lesser-Evils: Moral Desert as a Supplementary Justification for Defensive Killing.James Murray - 2014 - Dissertation, Queen's University
    In recent years, philosopher Jeff McMahan has solidified an influential view that moral desert is irrelevant to the ethics of self-defense. This work aims to criticize this view by demonstrating that there are cases in which moral desert has a niche position in determining whether it may be permissible to kill a person in self- (or other-)defense. This is done by criticizing McMahan’s Responsibility Account of liability as being overly punitive against minimally responsible threateners (MRTs), and by demonstrating, through reference (...)
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  17. Finlay on Legitimate Authority: A Critical Comment.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Christopher J. Finlay claims “that a principle of moral or legitimate authority is necessary in just war theory for evaluating properly the justifiability of violence by non-state entities when they claim to act on behalf of the victims of rights violations and political injustice.” In particular, he argues that states, unlike non-state actors, possess what he calls “Lesser Moral Authority.” This authority allegedly enables states to invoke “the War Convention,” which in turn entitles even individual soldiers on the aggressive side (...)
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  18. On Bazargan’s “Hybrid Account” of the Permissibility of Killing Minimally Responsible Threats.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Saba Bazargan proposes a novel “hybrid” justification for the killing of minimally responsible threats (MRTs). His account allegedly combines two elements, namely “the complex account of liability” and “the lesser-evil discounting view.” I argue that Bazargan’s conclusion that minimally responsible threats can sometimes be killed as well as certain other conclusions that Bazargan regards as a particular advantage of his hybrid account are single-handedly generated by one element of the “hybrid account,” namely by the lesser-evil discounting view. The lesser-evil discounting (...)
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  19. Quong on Agent-Relative Prerogatives to Do Harm: A Very Brief Refutation.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    In a recent paper, Jonathan Quong tries to offer further support for “the proposition that there are sometimes agent-relative prerogatives to harm nonliable persons.” In this brief paper, I will demonstrate that Quong’s argument implicitly relies on the premise that the violinist in Thomson’s famous example has a right not to be unplugged. Yet, first, Quong provides no argument in support of this premise; and second, the premise is clearly wrong. Moreover, throughout his paper Quong just question-beggingly and without argument (...)
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  20. Self-Defense and Imminence.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    This paper argues that there is a significant moral difference between force applied against (imminent) attackers on the one hand and force applied against “threatening” people who are not (imminent) attackers on the other. Given that there is such a difference, one should not blur the lines by using the term “self-defense” (understood as including other-defense) for both uses of force. Rather, only the former is appropriately called self-defense, while for the latter, following German legal terminology, the term “justifying defensive (...)
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  21. Self-Defense and the Necessity Condition.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Rights forfeiture or liability are not a path to the permissibility of self-defense (not even barring extraordinary circumstances), and the necessity condition is not intrinsic to justified self-defense. Rather, necessity in the context of justification must be distinguished from necessity in the context of rights forfeiture. While innocent aggressors only forfeit their right against necessary self-defense, culpable aggressors also forfeit, on grounds of a principle of reciprocity, certain rights against unnecessary self-defense. Yet, while culpable aggressors would therefore not be wronged (...)
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  22. Shortcomings of and Alternatives to the Rights-Forfeiture Theory of Justified Self-Defense and Punishment.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    I argue that rights-forfeiture by itself is no path to permissibility at all (even barring special circumstances), neither in the case of self-defense nor in the case of punishment. The limiting conditions of self-defense, for instance – necessity, proportionality (or no gross disproportionality), and the subjective element – are different in the context of forfeiture than in the context of justification (and might even be absent in the former context). In particular, I argue that a culpable aggressor, unlike an innocent (...)
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  23. Proportionality in Self-Defense.Uwe Steinhoff - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (3):263-289.
    This article considers the proportionality requirement of the self-defense justification. It first lays bare the assumptions and the logic—and often illogic—underlying very strict accounts of the proportionality requirement. It argues that accounts that try to rule out lethal self-defense against threats to property or against threats of minor assault by an appeal to the supreme value of life have counter-intuitive implications and are untenable. Furthermore, it provides arguments demonstrating that there is not necessarily a right not to be killed in (...)
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  24. The Liability of Justified Attackers.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):1016-1030.
    McMahan argues that justification defeats liability to defensive attack (which would undermine the thesis of the "moral equality of combatants"). In response, I argue, first, that McMahan’s attempt to burden the contrary claim with counter-intuitive implications fails; second, that McMahan’s own position implies that the innocent civilians do not have a right of self-defense against justified attackers, which neither coheres with his description of the case (the justified bombers infringe the rights of the civilians) nor with his views about rights (...)
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  25. When May Soldiers Participate in War?Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - International Theory 8 (2):262-296.
    I shall argue that in some wars both sides are (as a collective) justified, that is, they can both satisfy valid jus ad bellum requirements. Moreover, in some wars – but not in all – the individual soldiers on the unjustified side (that is, on the side without jus ad bellum) may nevertheless kill soldiers (and also civilians as a side-effect) on the justified side, even if the enemy soldiers always abide by jus in bello constraints. Traditional just war theory (...)
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  26. Self-Defense as Claim Right, Liberty, and Act-Specific Agent-Relative Prerogative.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Law and Philosophy 35 (2):193-209.
    This paper is not so much concerned with the question under which circumstances self-defense is justified, but rather with other normative features of self-defense as well as with the source of the self-defense justification. I will argue that the aggressor’s rights-forfeiture alone – and hence the liberty-right of the defender to defend himself – cannot explain the intuitively obvious fact that a prohibition on self-defense would wrong victims of attack. This can only be explained by conceiving of self-defense also as (...)
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  27. Quong on Proportionality in Self-Defense and the “Stringency Principle”.Steinhoff Uwe - manuscript
    Jonathan Quong proposes the following “Stringency Principle” for proportionality in self-defense: “If a wrongful attacker threatens to violate a right with stringency level X, then the level of defensive force it is proportionate to impose on the attacker is equivalent to X.” I adduce a counter-example that shows that this principle is wrong. Furthermore, Quong assumes that what determines the stringency of a person’s right is exclusively the amount of force that one would have to avert from someone else in (...)
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