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  1. Desert and Avoidability in Self-Defense.John Gardner & François Tanguay-Renaud - 2011 - Ethics 122 (1):111-134.
    Jeff McMahan rejects the relevance of desert to the morality of self-defense. In Killing in War he restates his rejection and adds to his reasons. We argue that the reasons are not decisive and that the rejection calls for further attention, which we provide. Although we end up agreeing with McMahan that the limits of morally acceptable self-defense are not determined by anyone’s deserts, we try to show that deserts may have some subsidiary roles in the morality of self-defense. We (...)
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  • Seven military classics : martial victory through good governance.Yvonne Chiu - 2024 - In Sumner B. Twiss, Bingxiang Luo & Benedict S. B. Chan (eds.), Warfare ethics in comparative perspective: China and the West. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 91-112.
    Contemporary international law separates the international justice of war from the domestic justice of society, but empirically, there is a correlation between democratic governance and military effectiveness, which could have a number of causes. A contemporary reconstruction from _The Seven Military Classics_ of Chinese military philosophy offers potential lessons for how domestic virtues may yield military and geopolitical victory. This chapter reconstructs arguments from the seven treatises into a collective an amalgamated conception of “good governance” that weaves together military strategy (...)
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  • National Defence, Self Defence, and the Problem of Political Aggression.Seth Lazar - 2014 - In Cécile Fabre & Seth Lazar (eds.), The Morality of Defensive War. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press. pp. 10-38.
    Wars are large-scale conflicts between organized groups of belligerents, which involve suffering, devastation, and brutality unlike almost anything else in human experience. Whatever one’s other beliefs about morality, all should agree that the horrors of war are all but unconscionable, and that warfare can be justified only if we have some compel- ling account of what is worth fighting for, which can justify contributing, as individu- als and as groups, to this calamitous endeavour. Although this question should obviously be central (...)
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  • On the Ethics of Torture.Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - State University of New York Press.
    A detailed, clear, and comprehensive overview of the current philosophical debate on. The question of when, and under what circumstances, the practice of torture might be justified has received a great deal of attention in the last decade in both academia and in the popular media. Many of these discussions are, however, one-sided with other perspectives either ignored or quickly dismissed with minimal argument. In On the Ethics of Torture, Uwe Steinhoff provides a complete account of the philosophical debate surrounding (...)
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  • Innocence and complex threats: Upholding the war ethic and the condemnation of terrorism.Noam J. Zohar - 2004 - Ethics 114 (4):734-751.
  • Does excusable ignorance absolve of liability for costs?Joachim Wündisch - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):837-851.
    Excusable ignorance not only undermines moral culpability but also agent-responsibility. Therefore, excusable ignorance absolves of liability for costs. Specifically, it defeats liability that is meant to be derived from causal responsibility wherever strict liability cannot be justified. To establish these claims this paper assesses the potential of arguments for liability of excusably ignorant agents and thereby demarcates the proper domain of strict liability and traces the intuition that seemingly supports strict liability accounts to more general principles. The paper concludes that (...)
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  • Is there a “right” to self‐defense?Whitley Kaufman - 2004 - Criminal Justice Ethics 23 (1):20-32.
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  • Tadros on Non-Responsible Threats.Christopher Heath Wellman - 2023 - Mind 132 (528):959-964.
    One of the many interesting features of Victor Tadros’s excellent book, To Do, To Die, To Reason Why, is his change of heart on the vexing question of whether p.
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  • On disproportionate force and fighting in vain.Gerhard Øverland - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):235-261.
    Two conditions guiding permissible use of force in self-defence are proportionality and success. According to the proportionality condition the means used to prevent an attack can be permissible only if they are proportional to the interest at stake.1 According to the success condition, otherwise impermissible acts can be justified under the right to self-defence only if they are likely to succeed in preventing the perceived threat.2 These requirements should not always be interpreted narrowly. Sometimes people are permitted to kill culpable (...)
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  • On Disproportionate Force and Fighting in Vain.Gerhard Øverland - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):235-261.
    Two conditions guiding permissible use of force in self-defence are proportionality and success. According to the proportionality condition the means used to prevent an attack can be permissible only if they are proportional to the interest at stake. According to the success condition, otherwise impermissible acts can be justified under the right to self-defence only if they are likely to succeed in preventing the perceived threat. These requirements should not always be interpreted narrowly. Sometimes people are permitted to kill culpable (...)
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  • 602 and One Dead: On Contribution to Global Poverty and Liability to Defensive Force.Gerhard Øverland - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):279-299.
    : When suggesting that we—the affluent in the developed world—are legitimate targets of defensive force due to our contribution to global poverty one is likely to be countered by one of two strategies. The first denies that we contribute to global poverty. The second seems to affirm that we contribute, and even that we have stringent contribution-based duties to address this poverty, but denies that such contribution makes forcible resistance permissible. Those in this second group employ several argumentative strategies. In (...)
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  • Child soldiers and killing in self-defence: Challenging the 'moral view' on killing in war.Milla Emilia Vaha - 2011 - Journal of Military Ethics 10 (1):36-51.
    (2011). CHILD SOLDIERS AND KILLING IN SELF-DEFENCE: CHALLENGING THE ‘MORAL VIEW’ ON KILLING IN WAR. Journal of Military Ethics: Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 36-51. doi: 10.1080/15027570.2011.561639.
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  • Proportionality and Self-Defense.Suzanne Uniacke - 2011 - Law and Philosophy 30 (3):253-272.
    Proportionality is widely accepted as a necessary condition of justified self-defense. What gives rise to this particular condition and what role it plays in the justification of self-defense seldom receive focused critical attention. In this paper I address the standard of proportionality applicable to personal self-defense and the role that proportionality plays in justifying the use of harmful force in self-defense. I argue against an equivalent harm view of proportionality in self-defense, and in favor of a standard of proportionality in (...)
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  • Doing Without Desert.Victor Tadros - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (3):605-616.
    This paper examines Derk Pereboom’s argument against punishment on deterrent grounds in his recent book Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. It suggests that Pereboom’s argument against basic desert has not been shown to extend to the view that those who act wrongly lose rights against punishment for deterrent reasons. It further supports the view that those who act wrongly, if they fulfil compatibilist conditions of responsibility, do lose rights to avert threats they pose. And this, it is argued, (...)
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  • Why We Shouldn’t Reject Conflicts: A Critique of Tadros.Uwe Steinhoff - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (3):315-322.
    Victor Tadros thinks the idea that in a conflict both sides may permissibly use force should (typically) be rejected. Thus, he thinks that two shipwrecked persons should not fight for the only available flotsam (which can only carry one person) but instead toss a coin, and that a bomber justifiably attacking an ammunitions factory must not be counterattacked by the innocent bystanders he endangers. I shall argue that Tadros’s claim rests on unwarranted assumptions and is also mistaken in the light (...)
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  • Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants.Uwe Steinhoff - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):339-366.
    According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no "moral equality of combatants." That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war - but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side violate the (...)
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  • Justifying Defense Against Non-Responsible Threats and Justified Aggressors: the Liability vs. the Rights-Infringement Account.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):247-265.
    Even among those who find lethal defense against non-responsible threats, innocent aggressors, or justified aggressors justified even in one to one cases, there is a debate as to what the best explanation of this permissibility is. The contenders in this debate are the liability account, which holds that the non-responsible or justified human targets of the defensive measures are liable to attack, and the justified infringement account, which claims that the targets retain their right not to be attacked but may (...)
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  • Compensation and continuity.Sandy Steel - 2020 - Legal Theory 26 (3):250-279.
    ABSTRACTThis article examines accounts of the moral basis of compensatory duties that explain such duties as the continuation, in some way, of the pre-wrong normative situation. I identify, contrast, and assess three versions of this view—duty continuity, right continuity, and reasons continuity. I argue that each version is defensible, once properly articulated. The article responds to a range of objections to these views that have not received much critical attention by their proponents.
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  • Second-Order Equality and Levelling Down.Re'em Segev - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):425 – 443.
    Many think that equality is an intrinsic value. However, this view, especially when based on a consequential foundation, faces familiar objections related to the claim that equality is sometimes good for none and bad for some: most notably the levelling down objection. This article explores a unique (consequential) conception of equality, as part of a more general conception of fairness concerning the resolution of interpersonal conflicts, which is not exposed to these objections.
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  • Responsibility and Justificatory Defenses.Re’em Segev - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1):97-110.
    Criminal prohibitions typically forbid harming people. Justificatory defenses, such as lesser evil, justifying necessity and justifying self-defense, provide exceptions to such prohibitions if certain conditions are met. One common condition is that the agent is not responsible for the conflict. The questions whether justificatory defenses should include such a condition, and if so what should be its content, are controversial. I argue that responsibility for a conflict counts against protecting the responsible person at the expense of a non-responsible or a (...)
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  • Hierarchical consequentialism.Re'em Segev - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (3):309-330.
    The paper considers a hierarchical theory that combines concern for two values: individual well-being – as a fundamental, first-order value – and (distributive) fairness – as a high-order value that its exclusive function is to complete the value of individual well-being by resolving internal clashes within it that occur in interpersonal conflicts. The argument for this unique conception of high-order fairness is that fairness is morally significant in itself only regarding what matters – individual well-being – and when it matters (...)
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  • Actions, Agents, and Consequences.Re’em Segev - 2023 - Criminal Justice Ethics 42 (2):99-132.
    According to an appealing and common view, the moral status of an action – whether it is wrong, for example – is sometimes important in itself in terms of the moral status of other actions – especially those that respond to the original action. This view is especially influential with respect to the criminal law. It is accepted not only by legal moralists but also by adherents of the harm principle, for example. In this paper, I argue against this view. (...)
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  • The concept of responsibility in the ethics of self-defense and war.Carolina Sartorio - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3561-3577.
    The focus of this paper is an influential family of views in the ethics of self-defense and war: views that ground the agent’s liability to be attacked in self-defense in the agent’s moral responsibility for the threat posed. I critically examine the concept of responsibility employed by such views, by looking at potential connections with the contemporary literature on moral responsibility. I start by uncovering some of the key assumptions that Responsibility Views make about the relevant concept of responsibility, and (...)
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  • Rights Forfeiture and Liability to Harm.Massimo Renzo - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (3):324-342.
  • Preventive War and the Epistemological Dimension of the Morality of War.Randall R. Dipert - 2006 - Journal of Military Ethics 5 (1):32-54.
    This essay makes three claims about preventive war, which is demarcated from preemptive war and is part of a broader class of ?anticipatory? wars. Anticipatory wars, but especially preventive war, are ?hard cases? for traditional Just War theory; other puzzles for this tradition include nuclear deterrence, humanitarian intervention, and provability a priori of the success of Tit-for-Tat. First, and despite strong assertions to the contrary, it is far from clear that preventive war is absolutely prohibited in traditional Just War Theory, (...)
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  • The Moral Taintedness of Benefiting from Injustice.Tom Parr - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):985-997.
    It is common to focus on the duties of the wrongdoer in cases that involve injustice. Presumably, the wrongdoer owes her victim an apology for having wronged her and perhaps compensation for having harmed her. But, these are not the only duties that may arise. Are other beneficiaries of an injustice permitted to retain the fruits of the injustice? If not, who becomes entitled to those funds? In recent years, the Connection Account has emerged as an influential account that purports (...)
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  • Liability, community, and just conduct in war.Jonathan Parry - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3313-3333.
    Those of us who are not pacifists face an obvious challenge. Common-sense morality contains a stringent constraint on intentional killing, yet war involves homicide on a grand scale. If wars are to be morally justified, it needs be shown how this conflict can be reconciled. A major fault line running throughout the contemporary just war literature divides two approaches to attempting this reconciliation. On a ‘reductivist’ view, defended most prominently by Jeff McMahan, the conflict is largely illusory, since such killing (...)
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  • Dividing Harm.Gerhard Øverland - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):547-566.
    In this paper I argue that mere causal contribution to harm is morally significant on two counts: a) innocent aggressors have a duty to bear additional costs to help protect their potential victims, as compared to the duty innocent bystanders are expected to bear, and correspondingly; b) it is permissible to use more force against innocent aggressors, as used in self-defense and defense of others, than innocent bystanders. The paper has two parts. First I aim to demonstrate the intuitive plausibility (...)
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  • Self-Defence and Innocence: Aggressors and Active Threats: Phillip Montague.Phillip Montague - 2000 - Utilitas 12 (1):62-78.
    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 (...)
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  • Killing, self-defense, and bad luck.Richard B. Miller - 2009 - Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (1):131-158.
    This essay argues on behalf of a hybrid theory for an ethics of self-defense understood as the Forfeiture-Partiality Theory. The theory weds the idea that a malicious attacker forfeits the right to life to the idea that we are permitted to prefer one's life to another's in cases of involuntary harm or threat. The theory is meant to capture our intuitions both about instances in which we can draw a moral asymmetry between attacker and victim and cases in which we (...)
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  • The Just War and the Gulf War.Jeff McMahan & Robert McKim - 1993 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):501 - 541.
    Discussions of the morality of the Gulf War have tended to embrace the traditional theory of the just war uncritically and to apply its tenets in a mechanical and unimaginative fashion. We believe, by contrast, that careful reflection of the Gulf War reveals that certain principles of the traditional theory are oversimplifications that require considerable refinement. Our aims, therefore, are both practical and theoretical. We hope to contribute to a better understanding of the ethics both of war in general and (...)
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  • The Just War and The Gulf War.Jeff McMahan & Robert McKim - 1993 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):501-541.
    Discussions of the morality of the Gulf War have tended to embrace the traditional theory of the just war uncritically and to apply its tenets in a mechanical and unimaginative fashion. We believe, by contrast, that careful reflection of the Gulf War reveals that certain principles of the traditional theory are oversimplifications that require considerable refinement. Our aims, therefore, are both practical and theoretical. We hope to contribute to a better understanding of the ethics both of war in general and (...)
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  • The ethics of killing in war.Jeff McMahan - 2004 - Ethics 114 (4):693-733.
    The traditional theory of the just war comprises two sets of principles, one governing the resort to war ( jus ad bellum) and the other governing the conduct of war ( jus in bello). The two sets of principles are regarded, in Michael Walzer’s words, as “logically independent. It is perfectly possible for a just war to be fought unjustly and for an unjust war to be fought in strict accordance with the rules.”1 Let us say that those who fight (...)
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  • The ethics of killing in war.Jeff McMahan - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (1):693-733.
    This paper argues that certain central tenets of the traditional theory of the just war cannot be correct. It then advances an alternative account grounded in the same considerations of justice that govern self-defense at the individual level. The implications of this account are unorthodox. It implies that, with few exceptions, combatants who fight for an unjust cause act impermissibly when they attack enemy combatants, and that combatants who fight in a just war may, in certain circumstances, legitimately target noncombatants (...)
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  • The Ethics of Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (1):23-41.
    This paper argues that certain central tenets of the traditional theory of the just war cannot be correct. It then advances an alternative account grounded in the same considerations of justice that govern self-defense at the individual level. The implications of this account are unorthodox. It implies that, with few exceptions, combatants who fight for an unjust cause act impermissibly when they attack enemy combatants, and that combatants who fight in a just war may, in certain circumstances, legitimately target noncombatants (...)
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  • Innocence, self-defense and killing in war.Jeff McMahan - 1994 - Journal of Political Philosophy 2 (3):193–221.
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  • Innocence, Self‐Defense and Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 1994 - Journal of Political Philosophy 2 (3):193-221.
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  • Innocent Attackers and Rights of Self-Defense.David R. Mapel - 2004 - Ethics and International Affairs 18 (1):81-86.
  • Weaponized Noncombatants, Child Soldiers, and Targeting Innocents.Oren J. Litwin - 2020 - Journal of Military Ethics 19 (1):56-68.
    This article presents a novel theory of noncombatant immunity that can serve as a practical guide for soldiers in the field. It improves on existing theories by justifying why and when an innocent...
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  • Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):233-255.
    Many of us think we have agent-centred options to act suboptimally. Some of these involve favouring our own interests. Others involve sacrificing them. In this paper, I explore three different ways to accommodate agent-centred options in a criterion of objective permissibility. I argue against satisficing and rational pluralism, and in favour of a principle built around sensitivity to personal cost.
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  • Authorization and The Morality of War.Seth Lazar - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):211-226.
    Why does it matter that those who fight wars be authorized by the communities on whose behalf they claim to fight? I argue that lacking authorization generates a moral cost, which counts against a war's proportionality, and that having authorization allows the transfer of reasons from the members of the community to those who fight, which makes the war more likely to be proportionate. If democratic states are better able than non-democratic states and sub-state groups to gain their community's authorization, (...)
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  • Ética en la guerra: la distinción entre soldados y civiles.Francisco Lara - 2013 - Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 38 (2):79-98.
    In war a soldier behaving properly should take into account a universal requirement not to kill, to be applied strictly in dealing with civilians, but at the same time to support the exception of taking the life of enemy combatants as an act of selfdefense. This is the usual way to distinguish morally the proper treatment to soldiers and civilians. In this article the author criticizes it and outlines a different way to understand and justify the moral distinction mentioned.
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  • What Follows from Defensive Non-Liaibility?Gerald Lang - 2017 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (3):231-252.
    Theories of self-defence tend to invest heavily in ‘liability justifications’: if the Attacker is liable to have defensive violence deployed against him by the Defender, then he will not be wronged by such violence, and selfdefence becomes, as a result, morally unproblematic. This paper contends that liability justifications are overrated. The deeper contribution to an explanation of why defensive permissions exist is made by the Defender’s non-liability. Drawing on both canonical cases of self-defence, featuring Culpable Attackers, and more penumbral cases (...)
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  • Revolution Against Non-violent Oppression.Zsolt Kapelner - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (4):445-461.
    Oppressive governments that use violence against citizens, e.g. murder and torture, are usually thought of as liable to armed revolutionary attack by the oppressed population. But oppression may be non-violent. A government may greatly restrict political rights and personal autonomy by using surveillance, propaganda, manipulation, strategic detention and similar techniques without ever resorting to overt violence. Can such regimes be liable to revolutionary attack? A widespread view is that the answer is ‘no’. On this view, unless a government is or (...)
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  • Death Penalty Abolition, the Right to Life, and Necessity.Ben Jones - 2023 - Human Rights Review 24 (1):77-95.
    One prominent argument in international law and religious thought for abolishing capital punishment is that it violates individuals’ right to life. Notably, this _right-to-life argument_ emerged from normative and legal frameworks that recognize deadly force against aggressors as justified when necessary to stop their unjust threat of grave harm. Can capital punishment be necessary in this sense—and thus justified defensive killing? If so, the right-to-life argument would have to admit certain exceptions where executions are justified. Drawing on work by Hugo (...)
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  • Recognition and Violence: The Challenge of Respecting One's Victim.Mattias Iser - 2006 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 235 (1):353-379.
    Theories of recognition have largely neglected the question of whether “struggles for recognition” might permissibly use violent means. In this article I explore the question of whether and how it is possible to show proper respect for the victim of one’s violence. Focusing on self-defense as the paradigmatic case of justified violence, two questions arise: (1) What renders an agent liable to violent action? (2) If she is liable, what is the appropriate, i.e., proportionate, degree of defensive violence that still (...)
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  • How Not to Defend the Unborn.David Hershenov & Philip A. Reed - 2021 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (4):414-430.
    It is sometimes proposed that killing or harming abortion providers is the only logically consistent position available to opponents of abortion. Since lethal violence against morally responsible attackers is normally viewed as justified in order to defend innocent parties, pro-lifers should also think so in the case of the abortion doctor and so they should act to defend the unborn. In our paper, we defend the mainstream pro-life view against killing abortion doctors. We argue that the pro-life view can, in (...)
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  • 'Ought' and Ability.P. A. Graham & Peter Graham - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (3):337-382.
    A principle that many have found attractive is one that goes by the name “'Ought' Implies 'Can'.” According to this principle, one morally ought to do something only if one can do it. This essay has two goals: to show that the principle is false and to undermine the motivations that have been offered for it. Toward the end, a proposal about moral obligation according to which something like a restricted version of 'Ought' Implies 'Can' is true is floated. Though (...)
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  • Self-Defence among Innocent People.Gerhard Øverland - 2005 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 2 (2):127-146.
    I explain the asymmetry between innocent aggressors and their victims, and attempt to separate justified and unjustified defensive force when both parties are innocent. I propose the principle of initiating behaviour, which states that: ‘In order for one person to be justified in using defensive force the other party must initiate the apparently threatening behaviour, but the defendant’s interpretation of that behaviour, as being threatening, would have to be reasonable.’ We can thereby maintain the view that there is a significant (...)
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  • Killing Civilians.Gerhard Øverland - 2005 - European Journal of Philosophy 13 (3):345-363.
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