The Mechanics of Claims and Permissible Killing in War – Lecture on 27 Nov. © private

Lec­turer: Prof. Dr. Alec D. Walen (Rut­gers School of Arts and Sci­ences, Pro­fess­or für Recht, Philo­soph­ie und Stra­frecht­sp­flege) | Date, time: 11/27/2019, 6 p.m., c.t. | Ven­ue: Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law, Freiburg/Ger­many.

Lec­ture series Freibur­ger Vorträge zur Staat­swis­senschaft und Recht­s­philo­soph­ie.
Co­oper­a­tion: Uni­versity of Freiburg & Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law.

Ac­cord­ing to the stand­ard view of rights, rights are not ab­so­lute. Some­times, to save some, it is per­miss­ible to do things that would nor­mally vi­ol­ate rights but that, un­der the cir­cum­stances, merely in­fringe them. The func­tion of rights, on this stand­ard view, is at most to raise a kind of mor­al bar­ri­er to their neg­lect. Moreover, even if an agent has suf­fi­cient mor­al reas­on to get over that bar­ri­er, she will pre­sum­ably have wronged the right-hold­er. The only way, ac­cord­ing to the stand­ard the­ory, to do what would nor­mally wrong a right hold­er, without ac­tu­ally wrong­ing the per­son, is if she has waived or for­feited her right.
I will ar­gue that much of this stand­ard pic­ture is wrong. I ar­gue for a dif­fer­ent mod­el—the mech­an­ics of claims—ac­cord­ing to which rights are the out­put of a bal­ance of claims, an out­put which de­scribes what is ul­ti­mately per­miss­ible. Rights in­fringe­ment is, on this view, a mis­lead­ing, mor­ally dis­tort­ing idea. Rather, we need to fo­cus on how dif­fer­ent kinds of claims in­ter­act, and what makes claims stronger or weak­er. For­feit­ure is only part of that pic­ture, a part that is over-em­phas­ized in the stand­ard view.
As for the state, I will ar­gue that through its law-mak­ing and reg­u­lat­ory power, it has an im­port­ant role in fix­ing cer­tain kinds of sub­stant­ive rights. It sets, with­in lim­its, what count as le­git­im­ate ex­pect­a­tions. Non­ethe­less, the state’s power is sub­stan­tially lim­ited by sub­stant­ive rights. Al­though the state has cer­tain unique powers, it re­mains an agent con­front­ing oth­er agents in a space of rights.
It is with­in this frame­work that I ar­gue we should think care­fully about when de­fens­ive force may per­miss­ibly be used.

Short bio­graph­ic­al note:
Alec Walen ist Pro­fess­or für Recht­swis­senschaften an der Rut­gers Uni­versity und hält ein­en fak­ultät­süber­gre­ifenden Lehr­stuhl an der School of Law und dem Philo­sophy De­parte­ment. Er ist Direk­t­or des Pro­gram in Crim­in­al Justice.
Den B.A. er­warb Prof. Walen an der Uni­versity of Mary­land im Jahr 1987. Es fol­gten eine philo­soph­is­che Pro­mo­tion zum Ph.D. an der Uni­versity of Pitt­s­burgh 1993 und der Be­such der Har­vard Law School bis zum Er­werb des J.D. im Jahr 1998. Von 2000 bis 2006 war er As­so­ci­ate Pro­fess­or an der Uni­versity of Bal­timore. In der Fol­gezeit lehrte und forschte er auch in Deutsch­land am MPI für aus­ländisches und in­ter­na­tionales Privatrecht (MPI for Com­par­at­ive and In­ter­na­tion­al Private Law), der RWTH Aachen sow­ie der Uni­versität Heidel­berg. Be­vor er seine Tätigkeit an der Rut­gers Uni­versity an­trat, war er von 2008 bis 2010 Forschungss­ti­pen­di­at an der Uni­versity of Mary­land.
Der Fok­us sein­er akademis­chen Arbeit liegt auf den philo­soph­is­chen Grundla­gen der Rechte und der­en Bedeu­tung für das
Stra­frecht, Ver­fas­sung­s­recht und das Recht der öf­fent­lichen Sich­er­heit. Prof. Walen hat eine Vielzahl wis­senschaft­lich­er Artikel ver­öf­fent­licht. Seine Mono­graph­ie „The Mech­an­ics of Claims and Per­miss­ible Killing in War“ er­schi­en 2019 bei Ox­ford Uni­versity Press. Er ist Mitheraus­ge­ber der Zeits­chrift „Law and Philo­sophy“.