Defensive Liability Without Culpability

In Christian Coons & Michael Weber (eds.), The Ethics of Self- Defense. Oxford University Press (2016)
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A minimally responsible threatener is someone who bears some responsibility for imposing an objectively wrongful threat, but whose responsibility does not rise to the level of culpability. Minimally responsible threateners include those who knowingly commit a wrongful harm under duress, those who are epistemically justified but mistaken in their belief that a morally risky activity will not cause a wrongful harm, and those who commit a harm while suffering from a cognitive impairment which makes it prohibitively difficult to recognize and act on what is morally required of them. The chapter argues that minimally responsible threateners can indeed be morally liable for the harms they impose. Put differently, culpability is not a necessary basis for liability.

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Saba Bazargan-Forward
University of California, San Diego


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