San Diego Law Review


Uwe Steinhoff

Document Type



Many philosophers who write on self-defense tend to ignore the self-defense discussions offered by legal scholars, and accordingly they often ignore the law or pay insufficient attention to it. In my experience, this attitude stems from a misperception of legal scholarship as some kind of positivistic interpretation of legal documents and as positive law being irrelevant for deciding what the morally right answer to the issues raised by self-defense are. I find this attitude deplorable because legal scholarship, especially in the field of criminal law, is more often than not straightforward moral philosophy; and criminal law especially gives expression to widely shared moral intuitions. Thus, the price of ignoring the scholarly debate in criminal law about self-defense might be a certain parochialism wherein authors, who unnecessarily reinvent the stone wheel where others have already offered a racing car wheel, entirely overlook problems that most certainly would be worth of discussion, or misperceive the intuitions of liberal philosophy professors for intuitions widely shared within one’s community.

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Criminal Law Commons