BGSU event to look at self-defense


BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University’s philosophy department will present a workshop on “The Ethics of Self-Defense” Friday and Saturday at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

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Christian Coons, an assistant professor of philosophy, said the two-day conference was inspired by a number of contemporary issues, from the Trayvon Martin case in Florida that raised attention to that state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to the recurring debate over gun control.

“One thing that’s really important that will be discussed an awful lot is the notion of proportionality,” he said. “Most theories about the justice of self-defense both in moral philosophy and legal theory say the defender has to exert force that’s proportional to the perceived or real threat. There will be a great bit of discussion about that.”

At 2 p.m. Saturday, keynote speaker Jeff McMahan of Rutgers University will present “The Limits of Self-Defense: Necessity, Proportionality, Guns, and Standing One’s Ground.”

The presentations are free and open to the public, although organizers ask that those who plan to attend preregister. Information, including speakers and links to their papers, is at