Philosophia 46 (2):337-353 (2018)

Authors
Hsin-Wen Lee
University of Delaware
Abstract
In this paper, I propose a new self-defense theory of punishment, the rights-protection theory. By appealing to the interest theory of right, I show that what we call “the right of self-defense” is actually composed of the right to protect our basic rights. The right of self-defense is not a single, self-standing right but a group of derivative rights justified by their contribution to the protection of the core, basic rights. Thus, these rights of self-defense are both justified and constrained by the basic rights they are supposed to protect. I then explain how this theory responds to a common objection. Opponents argue that, to exercise the right of self-defense, some threat must be present. However, in the context of punishment, the threat has already taken effect or is already gone. Thus, the right of self-defense becomes irrelevant when we punish an offender. I show that this objection is based on an implausibly narrow conception of self-defense. A reasonable conception would allow us to exercise our right of self-defense when there is a present definite threat, a future definite threat, or a potential threat. Thus, we may still exercise our right of self-defense in the context of punishment.
Keywords Deterrence  Self-defense  threat  sanction  punishment  the interest theory of rights  the justification problem  general justifying aim  specific deterrence  special deterrence
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-017-9931-z
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References found in this work BETA

A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Punishment and Responsibility.H. L. A. Hart - 1968 - Philosophy 45 (172):162-162.
Self-Defense.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (4):283-310.
Necessity in Self-Defense and War.Seth Lazar - 2012 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 40 (1):3-44.

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Citations of this work BETA

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