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Necessity and Liability: On an Honour-Based Justification for Defensive Harming

Bowen J (2016) Necessity and Liability: On an Honour-Based Justification for Defensive Harming, Journal of Practical Ethics, 4 (2), pp. 79-93.

This paper considers whether victims can justify what appears to be unnecessary defensive harming by reference to an honour-based justification. I argue that such an account faces serious problems: the honour-based justification cannot permit, first,defensiveharming, and second,substantialunnecessary harming. Finally, I suggest that, if the purpose of the honour based justification is expressive, an argument must be given to demonstrate why harming threateners, as opposed to opting for a non-harmful alternative, is the most effective means of affirming one’s honour. Along the way, I also suggest why I think thatinternalismabout the constraints on defensive harming (the view that the satisfaction of the necessity constraint is a necessity condition of a threatener’s liability) is correct. Most importantly, externalism implies that threateners can be liable to suffer gratuitous harm. I take this to be an unattractive consequence of the view.

AuthorsBowen Joseph
Publication date12/2016
Date accepted by journal01/12/2016
PublisherUniversity of Oxford
ISSN 2051-655X

Journal of Practical Ethics: Volume 4, Issue 2 (2016)

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