Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):1016-1030 (2016)

Authors
Uwe Steinhoff
University of Hong Kong
Abstract
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 forfeiture, is unsupported by independent argument, and, in any case, extremely implausible and counter-intuitive; and third, that his interpretation of the insulin case confuses the normative relations between an agent’s justification and non-liability on the one hand and permissible or impermissible interference with the agent’s act on the other. Similar confusions, fourth, affect his discussion of liability to compensation.
Keywords Compensation  Liability  Justified attackers  Justification  Jeff McMahan  moral equality of combatants  Permissibility  Self-defense  War
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-016-9712-y
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References found in this work BETA

Turning the Trolley.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (4):359-374.
A Right to Do Wrong.Jeremy Waldron - 1981 - Ethics 92 (1):21-39.
Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants.Uwe Steinhoff - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):339-366.
The Morality of War and the Law of War.Jeff McMahan - 2008 - In David Rodin & Henry Shue (eds.), Just and Unjust Warriors: The Moral and Legal Status of Soldiers. Oxford University Press. pp. 19--43.

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Citations of this work BETA

Proportionality in Self-Defense.Uwe Steinhoff - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (3):263-289.
When May Soldiers Participate in War?Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - International Theory 8 (2):262-296.

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