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Preempting Oneself: The Right and the Duty to Forestall One's Own Wrongdoing

50 Pages Posted: 10 May 2000  

Leo Katz

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: August 1999

Abstract

Economists and philosophers working on problems of rational choice have for some time been concerned with various puzzles raised by so-called "Ullysean" configurations: actors who rationally cause themselves to act irrationally. (e.g., the person who swallows Thomas Schelling's famous irrationality pill to preempt an attempted robbery). What has attracted less attention is that these configurations present fascinating problems for morality, most especially for non-consequentialist morality. This article undertakes the exploration of some of these problems and the implications they hold for the morality of preemptive detention, preemptive self-defense, the creation of prophylactic crimes (like our drug laws) and a variety of other preemptive practices.

Suggested Citation

Katz, Leo, Preempting Oneself: The Right and the Duty to Forestall One's Own Wrongdoing (August 1999). University of Pennsylvania Law School, Institute for Law and Economics Working Paper No. 274. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=200372 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.200372

Leo Katz (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-9334 (Phone)

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