It is a generally held view that an act of violence is, first and foremost, an intentional act. Most definitions of violence suggest that an act of violence occurs when the perpetrator deliberately and voluntarily aims at causing injury or suffering to the victim, or in other words injuring the victim is his or her purpose in acting. I will refer to this view as the intention-oriented (I-O) approach. The aim of this chapter is to challenge the received view that violence must always be defined in terms of the intentions of the perpetrator. This is not to suggest that intentionality never plays any role in an accurate account of violence. On the contrary, the intention to cause harm is often the determining issue whether a certain act qualifies as an act of violence. Nevertheless there are times when it is possible, and necessary, to relax the prerequisite of intentionality, and replace it with other necessary conditions such as knowledge or foreseeability of inevitable consequences to one’s actions.
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