This paper deals with the conditions of liability to self-defense. When I use the term liability, I mean moral liability. This is different from desert. If I am liable to be killed in self-defense, it does not follow that I deserve to be killed (say, as a means of punishment). In short, desert entails liability but liability does not entail desert. My use of the term in this paper may be stated succinctly as follows: if killing a person will neither wrong him nor violate his rights, he is morally liable to be killed. A person poses an unjust threat when he threatens harms that are neither justified nor excused. A person is culpable for an unjust threat if he intends the threat he poses, is a morally responsible agent, and there are no mitigating circumstances, such as duress, that excuse his actions. A person is at fault, but not culpable, for an unjust threat if he is a morally responsible agent, has acted unreflectively, recklessly, though not maliciously, in a way that poses risks to others. Though culpability entails fault, fault does not entail culpability; as I will explain later, a person does not have to be culpable in order to be at fault for an unjust threat.



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