The Ethics of Defending Yourself and What’s Yours Under Incomplete Information

April 14, 2023 - April 15, 2023
Center for Ethics, University of Zürich

Zollikerstrasse 117

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers

This event is available both online and in-person


  • Department of Philosophy, University of Zurich
  • Society for Applied Philosophy
  • Department of Philosophy, University of Konstanz

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


The Ethics of Defending Yourself and What’s Yours Under Incomplete Information

14-15 April 2023

Hybrid Event with in-person sessions held at the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Session will run from 9 am to 5 pm Central European Time on both days, with a lunch break. There will be a mix between pre-read sessions and full presentations, according to the speakers’ preferences.


  • Susanne Burri, University of Konstanz
  • Lisa Hecht, TU Dresden
  • Jennifer Page, University of Zurich

Workshop description: Ideally, accounts of morally permissible self-defence are action guiding: they helpfully inform our deliberation in cases where we perceive our rights to be at risk of being violated. Accounts of self-defence thus need to engage with typical scenarios in which use of defensive force might be considered. A typical type of threat is the threat to our property rights. Although every one of us is quite likely to face such a threat at some point in their lives, little has been written about what is permissible to do in defence of one’s property. Moreover, a typical feature of all self-defence scenarios is the uncertainty that almost inevitably characterizes these situations. 

In this workshop, we bring together scholars working on the ethics of self-defence to explore questions concerning the permissible defence of one’s property and, more generally, self-defence under conditions of uncertainty. We would like to invite abstracts for papers that broadly engage with these two topics. Possible questions to address include: 

  • Under what conditions, if any, is it morally permissible to defend one’s property with force? 
  • How should we think about the proportionality of force in protection of one’s property?
  • Are current laws (e.g., stand your ground laws in the US or duty to retreat requirements) morally appropriate? 
  • Are rights beyond our rights to bodily integrity and our property enforceable?
  • Where should the line be drawn between reasonable and unreasonable defensive mistakes under conditions of uncertainty? 
  • What are appropriate ways of taking into account the epistemic limitations that defensive agents face?

Keynote Speakers:

  • Renee Jorgensen, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Kimberly Kessler Ferzan, University of Pennsylvania
  • Helen Frowe, Stockholm University
  • Victor Tadros, University of Warwick

Other Speakers:

  • David Clark, University of Southern California
  • Leandro Dias, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
  • Shawn Kaplan, Adelphi University
  • Kida Lin, University of Oxford
  • Luciano Venezia, National University of Quilmes and National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Argentina, and Eduardo Rivera Lopez, Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires

Draft program and zoom link available on request. Please email Nelly Jana at [email protected] for more information.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




April 4, 2023, 12:00am CET

Who is attending?

4 people are attending:

University of Bucharest
and 2 more.

See all

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.

RSVPing on PhilEvents is not sufficient to register for this event.