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In this essay, I defend a theory of liability to defensive force. The theory contains two elements. The first is a dual Lockean-inspired condition. The second aims to make this first condition consistent with problems arising from uncertainty. Drawing on recent work by Michael Zimmerman, I argue that the rights-based condition should be made sensitive to the evidence available to defenders.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Social Philosophy and Policy, volume 32, issue 2, in 2016 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

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Social Philosophy and Policy Foundation

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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