The ‘human’ right to self-defence: Natural, institutional or political right?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the moral right to self-defence and, in particular, on the question as to whether this moral right is a natural, institutional or political right. Some moral rights, such as the right to life, right not to be tortured, right to (clean) air and water, and the right to freedom of movement, are evidently logically prior to social institutions. The moral weight of the necessity condition, and the way it operates, in self-defence is different from its moral weight and the way it operates in the case of other defence and, therefore, the fact that the two sets of standard conditions mirror one another in these respects is misleading. The chapter argues that the so-called human right to self-defence is something of a misnomer. It considers more closely the standard assumption that the necessity condition provides an underpinning, or at least one of the key elements of the underpinning, of the right not to be killed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical and Legal Approaches to Human Rights
EditorsTom Campbell, Kylie Bourne
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Electronic)9781315179711
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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