Self-Defence and Innocence: Aggressors and Active Threats

Utilitas 12 (1):62 (2000)
Although people generally agree that innocent targets of culpable aggression are justified in harming the aggressors in self-defence, there is considerable disagreement regarding whether innocents are justified in defending themselves when their doing so would harm other innocent people. I argue in this essay that harming innocent aggressors and active innocent threats in self-defence is indeed justified under certain conditions, but that defensive actions in such cases are justified as permissions rather than as claim rights. This justification therefore differs from that of self-defence against culpable aggressors, since defensive acts of the latter type are justified as claim rights rather than mere permissions. I argue, however, that the two justifications are alike in that both rest on considerations of distributive justice
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820800002612
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Kai Draper (2009). Defense. Philosophical Studies 145 (1):69 - 88.

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