Law and Philosophy 31 (6):673-701 (2012)
AbstractA person who is liable to defensive harm has forfeited his rights against the imposition of the harm, and so is not wronged if that harm is imposed. A number of philosophers, most notably Jeff McMahan, argue for an instrumental account of liability, whereby a person is liable to defensive harm when he is either morally or culpably responsible for an unjust threat of harm to others, and when the imposition of defensive harm is necessary to avert the threatened unjust harm. Others may favour a purely noninstrumental account of liability: one that looks only to the past behaviour of the potentially liable person. We argue that both views are vulnerable to serious objections. Instead we develop and defend a new view of liability to defensive harm: the pluralist account. The pluralist account states that liability to defensive harm has at least two bases. First, if an attacker is morally or culpably responsible for an unjust attack then he has forfeited what we call his agency right, and in doing so he has made himself partially liable to defensive harm. Whether the attacker is fully liable to defensive harm depends, however, on whether the imposition of defensive harm would infringe a different right held by the attacker: his humanitarian right. Humanitarian rights are rights to be provided with urgently needed resources or to be protected from serious harms when others can do so at reasonably low cost. We argue the pluralist account avoids the objections to which the instrumental and noninstrumental views are vulnerable, coheres with our intuitive reactions in a wide range of cases, and sheds new light on the way different rights combine to determine a person's liability to suffer harm
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
References found in this work
Killing the Innocent in Self-Defense.Michael Otsuka - 1994 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 23 (1):74-94.
Self-Defense and the Problem of the Innocent Attacker.Jeff McMahan - 1994 - Ethics 104 (2):252-290.
Citations of this work
In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):859-883.
Killing and Rescuing: Why Necessity Must Be Rethought.Kieran Oberman - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (3):433-463.
Rights Forfeiture and Liability to Harm.Massimo Renzo - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (3):324-342.
Necessity and Liability: On an Honour-Based Justification for Defensive Harming.Joseph Bowen - 2016 - Journal of Practical Ethics 4 (2):79-93.
Similar books and articles
The Basis of Moral Liability to Defensive Killing.Jeff McMahan - 2005 - Philosophical Issues 15 (1):386–405.
Moral Liability to Defensive Killing and Symmetrical Self-Defense.David R. Mapel - 2010 - Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (2):198-217.
Is the Risk–Liability Theory Compatible with Negligence Law?Toby Handfield & Trevor Pisciotta - 2005 - Legal Theory 11 (4):387-404.
Self-Defense, Innocent Aggressors, and the Duty of Martyrdom.Whitley Kaufman - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):78-96.
Contribution to Collective Harms and Responsibility.Robert Jubb - 2012 - Ethical Perspectives 19 (4):733-764.
The Moral Status of Enabling Harm.Samuel C. Rickless - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86.
The Moral Limits of Criminalizing Remote Harms.Dennis J. Baker - 2007 - New Criminal Law Review 10 (3):370-391.
Complicity and Criminal Liability in Rwanda: A Situationist Critique.Michelle Ciurria - 2011 - Res Publica 17 (4):411-419.
What Are the Moral Limits of Weapons Research?John Forge - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (1):76-87.
The Role of Conscious Reasoning and Intuition in Moral Judgment.Fiery Cushman, Liane Young & Marc Hauser - 2006 - Psychological Science 17 (12):1082-1089.
Polishing Up the Pinto: Legal Liability, Moral Blame, and Risk.John R. Danley - 2005 - Business Ethics Quarterly 15 (2):205-236.