Mistakes and Self-Defence
Chapter 10 is concerned with mistakes. A person might impose a threat on another person in error. For example, I might do something that imposes a very small risk of harm on you. I know there is the risk that you will be harmed, but given that it is very small I do not behave culpably in exposing you to the risk. If the risk is about to be realised and the only way of saving myself is to harm you, is it permissible to harm you? Considering cases of this kind presses us to expand the range of values that we appeal to in deciding who it is permissible to harm. The value of choice clearly has a role to play in these cases, but it must be supplemented by other ideas. In particular it will be important to consider the way in which permissibility might affect the distribution of risks that people bear. This chapter develops a conceptual framework for thinking about these issues and explores some of the most important principles for evaluating mistakes.
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