In addition to normative powers by which we alter our rights and duties, we can also forfeit rights. Culpable aggression forfeits the aggressor's right against the victim's use of defensive force. So, what happens when an aggressor “fakes it”? If a culpable aggressor is simply bluffing, has he still forfeited his rights? Because there is no threat, leading accounts of self-defense deny that there is forfeiture.
This paper argues that individuals alter their rights and duties through insincere acts. Specifically, when one person culpably causes another person to believe that a normative power has been exercised or a right forfeited, that normative power is in fact exercised or the right is forfeited. An insincere promise counts as a promise; insincere consent counts as consent; and insincere abandonment counts as abandonment. And, the insincere threat forfeits the bluffer's rights to the same extent as a real threat would.