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War and Self-Defense$
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David Rodin

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199257744.001.0001

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Grounding Self-Defense in Rights

Grounding Self-Defense in Rights

(p.70) 4 Grounding Self-Defense in Rights
War and Self-Defense


Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a rights-based explanation of self-defence. A right of defence exists when a subject is at liberty to defend a certain good by performing an action that would otherwise be impermissible. The moral justification for this liberty invokes three considerations: an appropriate normative relation exists between the subject and the end of the right, consisting of either of a right to, or a duty of care towards the good protected; the defensive act is a proportionate, necessary response to an imminent threat of harm; and the object of defensive force has an appropriate degree of normative responsibility for, and the subject is innocent of, the harm threatened.

Keywords:   self-defence, rights, liberty

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