Is this analogous with "hard cases make bad law"? I have often had that suspicion about extreme thought-experiments, but I have never taken the time to rack my brain into a state of reflective equilibrium on the question.

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Hi, J.C.!

I hadn't heard that phrase before, but my guess is yes. That's where I'm trying to go with this research moving forward, specifically in the area of the ethics of interpersonal violence. Going straight to thought experiments about homicidal maniacs is likely bad methodology for carving out a general ethics for what agents should do in cases of interpersonal threat; and it's bad methodology for at least a couple of the reasons I mention here about trolley problems.

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Hi Guy,

the expression comes from law, of course, but seems analogous. Even in law, it is itself contested (as the Wikipedia page mentions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_cases_make_bad_law). I have my own, related, libertarian philosophical theory as regards proportionality in dealing with threats to liberty and rectifying infractions of liberty: https://jclester.substack.com/p/liberty-maximisation-a-libertarian and https://jclester.substack.com/p/libertarian-rectification.

Regards, Jan

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