Dignity, Emergency, Exception

Alon Harel*, Assaf Sharon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the category of extreme cases—cases involving catastrophic consequences the avoiding of which requires severe measures (e.g., torture, shooting a plane in 9/11 situations). Our proposal maintains that what is most pernicious is not the violation of moral rules as such but their principled or rule-governed violation. Maintaining a normative distinction between acts performed under the direction of principles/rules, on the one hand, and unprincipled, context-generated acts, acts performed under the force of circumstances, on the other, allows for accommodating the necessity of infringements in extreme cases within a (non-conventional) deontological framework. Agents who perform acts in extreme cases ought not to be guided by rules or principles. Instead, they ought to make particular judgments not governed by rules.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationIus Gentium
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameIus Gentium
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9902

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.


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