Law and Philosophy 39 (4):381-408 (2020)

Authors
Susanne Burri
London School of Economics
Abstract
This paper examines whether an agent becomes liable to defensive harm by engaging in a morally permissible but foreseeably risk-imposing activity that subsequently threatens objectively unjustified harm. It first clarifies the notion of a foreseeably risk-imposing activity by proposing that an activity should count as foreseeably risk-imposing if an agent may morally permissibly perform it only if she abides by certain duties of care. Those who argue that engaging in such an activity can render an agent liable to defensive harm ground this liability in the luck egalitarian thought that we may justly hold individuals responsible for the consequences of their voluntary choices. Against this, I argue that a luck egalitarian commitment to holding people responsible cannot, by itself, ground liability to defensive harm. It can help ground such liability only against the backdrop of a distributively just society, and only if further considerations speak morally in favour of attaching certain well-defined costs to individuals’ risk-imposing choices. I conclude by suggesting that if an account of liability applies robustly across distributively just and unjust contexts alike, then what grounds an agent’s liability is plausibly not her responsibility for threatening objectively unjustified harm, but her culpability for doing so.
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-019-09368-0
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References found in this work BETA

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
What is Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resources.Ronald Dworkin - 1981 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (4):283 - 345.
What is Equality? Part 1: Equality of Welfare.Ronald Dworkin - 1981 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (3):185-246.
Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare.Richard J. Arneson - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 56 (1):77 - 93.

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Coerced Consent with an Unknown Future.Tom Dougherty - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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