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The Ethics of Self-Defense$
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Christian Coons and Michael Weber

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190206086

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190206086.001.0001

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The Moral-Responsibility Account of Liability to Defensive Killing

The Moral-Responsibility Account of Liability to Defensive Killing

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 The Moral-Responsibility Account of Liability to Defensive Killing
Source:
The Ethics of Self-Defense
Author(s):

Michael Otsuka

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190206086.003.0003

Some are blameless for posing a threat to the lives of another because they are not morally responsible for being a threat. Others are blameless in spite of their responsibility. On what has come to be known as the “moral-responsibility account” of liability to defensive killing, it is such responsibility, rather than blameworthiness, for threatening another that renders one liable to defensive killing. Moreover, one’s lack of responsibility for being a threat grounds one’s nonliability to defensive killing. The chapter defends the claim that it is impermissible to kill a passive nonresponsible threat in self-defense. It further defends the claim that it is permissible to kill a blameless but morally responsible threat in self-defense.

Keywords:   self-defense, moral responsibility, liability, nonresponsible threat, innocent threat, innocent bystander, innocent obstructer, responsible threat, Jeff McMahan, moral luck

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