Title

Self-Defense

Authors

Larry Alexander

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

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.

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