Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of Philosophy and Religion


Mark Piper


In this work I seek to determine which type of self-defense legislation best satisfies utilitarian ethical standards when implemented within an American democratic system, and should therefore be implemented throughout the United States. I begin by explaining and defending the form of utilitarianism employed in my analysis. I then clarify the three primary forms of legislation that have been proposed to govern circumstances of self-defense – Stand Your Ground laws, Castle Doctrine laws, and Duty to Retreat laws – after which I analyze each form of self-defense legislation according to utilitarian standards. I argue that while Stand Your Ground laws and Duty to Retreat laws satisfy utilitarian demands to some extent, Castle Doctrine laws best satisfy the demands of utilitarianism, and, for this reason, should be implemented throughout the United States.



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