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Philosophy Colloquium: The Moral Limits of Violence in Political Resistance

Dr. Joseph Chan
Friday, December 09, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Dr. Joseph Chan
Philosophy Colloquium Series

Come join the Philosophy Department for this interesting talk by Dr. Joseph Chan.

The Moral Limits of Violence in Political Resistance


In this talk, I examine whether violence in political resistance against state injustice is morally permissible. Contemporary analytic political and legal philosophy seldom discusses this question, and the literature of nonviolent disobedience does not offer much help. The most relevant literature seems to be the ethics of war and the ethics of individual self-defense, where four principles are commonly employed to assess the moral limits of force - just cause, reasonable prospect of success, necessity, and proportionality. This talk examines the extent to which these principles can provide practical moral guidance for participants in resistance movements that are highly dynamic and open-ended.


Joseph Chan has taught at the Department of Politics and Public Administration, the University of Hong Kong for three decades. He is currently a Global Scholar and Visiting Professor at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, and will be a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taiwan from February 2023. He is the author of Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times (Princeton, 2014).

Learn more about Dr. Joseph Chan from his website

Contact: Rachel Gilbert