Forward Thinking: Were You To Write Self-Defense Laws, What Would They Say?

Forward Thinking is a values development project in which bi-monthly bloggers around the internet are prompted by Libby Anne of Love Joy Feminism or me to write about a topic related to important values, practices, and applied ethics issues.

Today, Libby Anne has posted a round up of bloggers’ answers to the question, “What is Personhood?”

In the wake of George Zimmerman’s controversial acquittal of murder and manslaughter charges for the death of Trayvon Martin based on a self-defense argument, people seemingly around the world are riven with debates over the meaning and justification and limits of the right to self-defense.

I would like us to abstract away from the particular details of this case and ask bloggers to write about the general question, “What sorts of reasoning and priorities should go into self-defense laws so that they can be as ethical as possible?”

While your discussion of the general ethics and ideal laws related to self-defense can discuss the Zimmerman case, they by no means need to. And I do not intend to include in the round up of replies aspects of blog posts that deal with other pieces of the Zimmerman case or other vitally important controversies stemming from the case, unless they can be tied in directly to the ethics and ideal laws for self-defense. This is not because the other topics are not important but because I want this to be about the general ethical and legal issue and not the case that brought it so inescapably to the center of cultural consciousness these days.

To have your blog post on this topic included in the round up of replies, please remember to submit it to me at camelswithhammers at gmail dot com or I cannot guarantee I will see it or remember it.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.