The Mechanics of Claims and Permissible Killing in War, Chapter 3

The Mechanics of Claims and Permissible Killing in War, Oxford University Press, 2019

83 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2019 Last revised: 30 Jan 2019

See all articles by Alec D. Walen

Alec D. Walen

Rutgers School of Law; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: January 1, 2019

Abstract

This book operates on two levels. On the more practical level, its overarching concern is to answer the question, When is it permissible to use lethal force to defend people against threats? The deeper concern of the book, however, is to lay out and defend a new account of rights, the mechanics of claims. This framework constructs rights from the premise that rights provide a normative space in which people can pursue their own ends while treating each other as free and equal fellow-agents whose welfare morally matters. According to the mechanics of claims, rights result from first weighing competing patient-claims on an agent, then determining if the agent has a strong enough agent-claim to act contrary to the balance of patient-claims on her, and then looking to see if special claims limit her freedom. The strength of claims in this framework reflects not just the interest in play but the nature of the claims. Threats who have no right to threaten have weaker claims not to be harmed than bystanders who might be harmed as a side effect, all else equal. With this model, a central problem in just war theory can be pushed to the margins: determining when people have forfeited their rights and are liable to harm. Threats may lack a right not to be killed even if they have done nothing to forfeit it.

Keywords: rights, mechanics of claims, autonomy, equality, welfare, luck, agent–patient inference, threat, eliminative killing, just war theory

Suggested Citation

Walen, Alec D., The Mechanics of Claims and Permissible Killing in War, Chapter 3 (January 1, 2019). The Mechanics of Claims and Permissible Killing in War, Oxford University Press, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3308867

Alec D. Walen (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law ( email )

NJ
United States

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy ( email )

106 Somerset St
5th Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
15
Abstract Views
82
PlumX Metrics