Consequences and Forced Choice


in War and Self-Defense

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199257744
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601811 | DOI:
 Consequences and Forced Choice

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This chapter presents the third and final leg of a model of defensive rights discussed in the preceding chapter. It explores the ‘moral asymmetry’ problem between defender and aggressor — why the defender is justified in killing an aggressor but not vice versa. It presents specific objections to the initially promising account of self-defence as a forced choice. It argues that an explanation of self-defence cannot be found in the realm of reduced responsibility and necessity. When one kills in self-defence, one is responsible for one’s killing; if the act escapes condemnation, then it must be because killing is, in the circumstances, rightful.

Keywords: self-defence; forced choice; moral responsibility; moral asymmetry

Chapter.  9032 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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