Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)
Second Committee Member
Ethics of Peace, Ethics of War, Just War Theory, Pacifism, Philosophy, Self-defense
Absolute Pacifism (or AP) is the thesis that no act of assault is morally permissible. This entails that all acts of self-defensive assault are impermissible. This essay defends AP against non-eliminativist theories of justified self-defensive assault - that is, theories of self-defensive assault which, contrary to AP, claim that at least some instances of self-defensive assault are morally permissible. Chapter 1 begins by defining assault and AP and subsequently exploring a species of AP wedded to the Doctrine of Double Effect (or DDE). Chapter 2 defends AP against the thesis that self-defensive assault is morally permissible but not morally obligatory. Against this, it is argued that there can be no mere right to self-defensive assault since that right would render permissible causing unnecessary harm. Chapter 3 defends AP against the thesis that self-defensive assault is not only morally permissible but also morally obligatory. Against this, it is argued that there can be no duty to engage in self-defensive assault because there is a trivializability constraint which makes the existence of those duties impossible. Since if there are permissible instances of self-defensive assault they are either mere rights or duties, and since there are no instances of either, it follows that there are no instances of permissible self-defensive assault.
Hereth, Stephen Blake, "Against Self-Defense" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 2284.