Violence: 3 kinds (Part 2)

There are 3 primary kinds of violence.

  1. Initiatory violence
  2. Defensive violence
  3. Incidental violence

Violence is physical and has real world consequences. Words are not violence.

Violence may be digital, such as in digital theft or vandalism, e.g. defacing a website or a DDoS attack. (N.B. While some may claim that the digital is not physical, it still relies on basic physics, and is in reality very much physical.)

In video games or digital/virtual spaces where violence, e.g. player versus player (PvP) or player kill (PK), is part of the rules, that violence is merely part of a game and not morally considerable, and thus out of scope for our discussion here.


Initiatory violence is always wrong. It is the first use of violence by an agent whether directly or indirectly.


Defensive violence is always justifiable. It is the use of violence against an aggressor, or against an agent that has initiated violence against you.


Incidental violence does not generally carry any moral or ethical consideration. For example, we may consider biting as violence, but biting and chewing carrots is not a moral consideration.

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