In this encyclopedia entry, I set forth all of the factors that a complete theory of self-defense must consider. On some of those factors, I have and express an opinion. On others, I leave matters unresolved. What is most significant, however, is that self-defense is preemptive: it occurs before the anticipated act to which it is a response. Yet, almost none of the extant voluminous literature on self-defense addresses the epistemological standards that should govern preemptive responses, standards regarding the probability of the anticipated act and its consequences and whether the actor is culpable or nonculpable.
Digital USD Citation
Alexander, Larry, "Self-Defense" (2011). Institute on Law and Philosophy Scholarship. 22.