San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



I shall first describe what moral combat would be if it existed, separate it into distinct species, and say why it is so undesirable that one should be brought to acknowledge its existence only reluctantly and as a last resort. I will then detail two ways in which rights to do things—often called “action rights” or “active rights”—such as the right to defend oneself, are integrated into standard deontic logic: (1) Hohfeld’s way and (2) the older but still popular Kantian alternative that Hurd and I recently defended. The first of these is compatible with—indeed, inviting of—moral combat, whereas the second is not. Thirdly, I shall ask whether moral combat is an inevitable feature of our moral life, using various self-defense scenarios to argue that—contrary to Steinhoff’s belief—it is not. This is taken to cut in favor of the older analysis of rights and against Hohfeld’s analysis.