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

Submission deadline: October 1, 2022

Conference date(s):
April 14, 2023 - April 15, 2023

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Conference Venue:

Center for Ethics, University of Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland

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Call for Abstracts

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

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Renee Jorgensen (University of Michigan), Kimberly Ferzan (University of Pennsylvania), Helen Frowe (Stockholm University), Victor Tadros (University of Warwick) 

Organisers: Susanne Burri (University of Konstanz), Jennifer Page (University of Zurich), Lisa Hecht (Technische Universität Dresden)

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?

Abstracts should be around 1,000 words in length and fully anonymized. Please submit your abstracts no later than 1st of October 2022 to [email protected]. In your submission email, please include your name, institutional affiliation (if any), and preferred email address. Subject to funding we might be able to assist authors of accepted abstracts with travel expenses. 

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