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Punishment and the Moral EmotionsEssays in Law, Morality, and Religion$
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Jeffrie G. Murphy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199764396

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199764396.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 September 2021

Kant on the “Right of Necessity” and other Defenses in the Law of Homicide

Kant on the “Right of Necessity” and other Defenses in the Law of Homicide

(p.274) Chapter 13 Kant on the “Right of Necessity” and other Defenses in the Law of Homicide
Punishment and the Moral Emotions

Jeffrie G. Murphy

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates the three claims made by Kant with respect to criminal defenses to homicide: the claim that a soldier who kills in a duel should not be punished as a capital murder; that a woman who kills her illegitimate baby should not be likewise punished; and that there is no just and rational right of necessity in shipwreck survival situations should. While Kant fails, in the author's view, to justify the first two claims (which operate on shame/honor justifications), he succeeds in maintaining that the law should not recognize a justifying right of necessity in cases that involve the murder of an innocent person. Kant's principles of human dignity stand—that killing a person as a means to an end, even if that end is for the survival of others—is not consistent with his moral and legal philosophy.

Keywords:   Kant, human dignity, criminal defenses, homicide, shame, honor, moral philosophy, legal philosophy, murder, law, right of necessity

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