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Duty and Liability




In his recent book, Killing in War , Jeff McMahan sets out a number of conditions for a person to be liable to attack, provided the attack is used to avert an objectively unjust threat: (1) The threat, if realized, will wrongfully harm another; (2) the person is responsible for creating the threat; (3) killing the person is necessary to avert the threat, and (4) killing the person is a proportionate response to the threat. The present article focuses on McMahan's second condition, which links liability with responsibility. McMahan's use of the responsibility criterion, the article contends, is too restrictive as an account of liability in general and an account of liability to be killed in particular. In order to defend this claim, the article disambiguates the concept of liability and explores its role in the philosophical analysis of the permission to cause harm to others.

Suggested Citation

  • Tadros, Victor, 2012. "Duty and Liability," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 259-277, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:24:y:2012:i:02:p:259-277_00

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