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Permissible Killing: The Self-Defense Justification of Homicide

NCJ Number
S Uniacke
Date Published
253 pages
This book identifies and discusses the principles relevant to self-defense as a justification for homicide.
Some of the issues examined are whether individuals have a positive right to self-defense, and if so, the limits of this right; and under what conditions, if any, does this use of force extend to the defense of others. The author establishes a unitary right of self-defense and defense of others, one which grounds the permissibility of the use of necessary and proportionate defensive force against culpable and nonculpable, active and passive unjust threats. Topics discussed include the nature of moral and legal justification and excuse, natural-law justifications for homicide in self-defense, the principle of double effect and the claim that homicide in self-defense is justified as unintended killing, and the issue of self- preferential killing. The author notes that self-defense is not essentially a punitive act nor is it an attempt to bring about optimal results; rather, it is the act of resisting, repelling, or warding off an immediate threat. The conditions of necessary and proportionate force are moral limits of the right of self- defense. Where the use of lethal force is not defensive, the conditions of necessary and proportionate force, together with lack of intention to kill, are insufficient to permit self- preference. A 168-item bibliography and a subject index


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