The traditional disputants in the free will discussion--the libertarian, soft determinist, and hard determinist--agree that free will is a coherent concept, while disagreeing on how the concept might be satisfied and whether it can, in fact, be satisfied. In this innovative analysis, Richard Double offers a bold new argument, rejecting all of the traditional theories and proposing that the concept of free will cannot be satisfied, no matter what the nature of reality. Arguing that there is unavoidable conflict within (...) our understanding of moral responsibility and free choice, Double seeks to prove that when we ascribe responsibility, blame, or freedom, we merely express attitudes, rather than state anything capable of truth or falsity. Free will, he concludes, is essentially an incoherent notion. (shrink)
The paper makes three points about the role of doubledissociation in cognitive neuropsychology. First, arguments from doubledissociation to separate modules work by inference to the best, not the only possible, explanation. Second, in the development of computational cognitive neuropsychology, the contribution of connectionist cognitive science has been to broaden the range of potential explanations of doubledissociation. As a result, the competition between explanations, and the characteristic features of the assessment of theories (...) against the criteria of probability and explanatory value, are more visible. Third, cognitive neuropsychology is a division of cognitive psychology but the practice of cognitive neuropsychology proceeds on assumptions that go beyond the subject matter of cognitive psychology. Given such assumptions, neuroscientific findings about lesion location may enhance the value of doubledissociation in shifting the balance of support between cognitive theories. (shrink)
Why is debate over the free will problem so intractable? In this broad and stimulating look at the philosophical enterprise, Richard Double uses the free will controversy to build on the subjectivist conclusion he developed in The Non-Reality of Free Will (OUP 1991). Double argues that various views about free will--e.g., compatibilism, incompatibilism, and even subjectivism--are compelling if, and only if, we adopt supporting metaphilosophical views. Because metaphilosophical considerations are not provable, we cannot show any free will theory (...) to be most reasonable. Metaphilosophy and Free Will deconstructs the free will problem and, by example, challenges philosophers in other areas to show how their philosophical argumentation can succeed. (shrink)
Northoff provides a compelling argument supporting a kind of “doubledissociation” of Parkinson's disease and catatonia. We discuss a related form of akinetic mutism linked to mesodiencephalic injuries and suggest an alternative to the proposed “horizontal” versus “vertical” modulation distinction. Rather than a “directional” difference in patterned neuronal activity, we propose that both disorders reflect hypersynchrony within typically interdependent but segregated networks facilitated by a common thalamic gating mechanism.
As revealed by standard neuropsychological testing, patients with damage either to the frontal lobe or to the hippocampus suffer from distinct impairments of working memory. It is unclear how Ruchkin et al.'s model integrates the role played by the hippocampus.
In this article, we discuss the modularity of the emotions. In a general methodological section, we discuss the empirical basis for the postulation of modularity. Then we discuss how certain modules -- the emotions in particular -- decompose into distinct anatomical and functional parts.
The belief that only free will supports assignments of moral responsibility -- deserved praise and blame, punishment and reward, and the expression of reactive attitudes and moral censure -- has fueled most of the historical concern over the existence of free will. Free will's connection to moral responsibility also drives contemporary thinkers as diverse in their substantive positions as Peter Strawson, Thomas Nagel, Peter van Inwagen, Galen Strawson, and Robert Kane. A simple, but powerful, reason for thinking that philosophers are (...) correct in making moral responsibility the prize of the free will problem is this: If we disassociate free will from deserved praise, blame, punishment and reward, reactive attitudes and moral censure, then why care about free will? If free will is not pinned down as that degree of freedom in our choices that we need for moral responsibility, it is difficult to see why anyone would or should care about free will. In this article I argue that some of the most prominent recent writing on free will becomes sidetracked from this key issue. For this reason, a good deal of the literature is so much spilled ink as philosophers misdirect their energies. In section 1 I elaborate just what I believe the key issue in the free will problem is. In section 2 I illustrate what an answer to the key issue requires. In section 3 I suggest motivations for misdirection. In sections 4, 5, and 6 I provide detailed examples of misdirection from compatibilists and libertarians. In sections 7 and 8 I describe some non-misdirected answers to the key question. (shrink)
Adopting meta-level Free Will Subjectivism is one among several ways to maintain that persons never experience moral freedom in their choices. The other ways of arguing against moral freedom I consider are presented by Saul Smilansky, Ted Honderich, Bruce Waller, Galen Strawson, and Derk Pereboom. In this paper, without arguing for the acceptance of free will subjectivism, I argue that subjectivism has some moral and theoretical advantages over its kindred theories.
One of Thomas Nagel’s premises in his argument for panpsychism (in Mortal Questions) is criticized. The principal criticisms are: (1) Nagel has failed to provide a clear sense in which mental properties are nonphysical. (2) Even within the framework of Nagel’s argumeent, there is no strong reason to think that the psychological lies outside the explanatory web of physical properties. This is because certain reducing properties common to both the psychological and nonpsychological may well be physical.
Freud attributed uncovered incest, initially, to real abuse dissociated from self-consciousness, and later, to wishes repressed from consciousness. Dissociation is preferred on theoretical and empirical grounds. Whereas dissociation emerges from double-aspect materialism, repression implicates Cartesian dualism. Several studies suggest that abnormal individuals dissociate trauma from self-conscious source-monitoring, thereby convincing themselves that the trauma is imaginary rather than real, and re-experience the trauma as an unbidden image.
Different developmental anomalies produce contrasting deficits in a single, integrated system. In a network that inflects regular and exception verbs correctly, a disproportionate deficit with exceptions occurs if connections are deleted, whereas a disproportionate deficit with regulars occurs when an auditory deficit impairs perception of the regular inflection. In general, contrasting deficits do not license the inference of underlying modularity.
This paper offers a general reply to arguments from perceptual distortion (e.g. blur, perspective, double vision) against the representationalist thesis that the phenomenal characters of experiences supervene on their intentional contents. It has been argued that distorted and undistorted experiences are counterexamples to this thesis because they can share contents without sharing phenomenal characters. In reply, I suggest that cases of perceptual distortion do not constitute counterexamples to the representationalist thesis because the contents of distorted experiences are always impoverished (...) in some way compared to those of normal experiences. This is can be shown by considering limit cases of perceptual distortion, for example, maximally blurry experiences, which manifestly lack detailed content. I argue that since there is no reasonable way to draw the line between distorted experiences that have degraded content and distorted experiences that don't, we should allow that an increase in distortion is always accompanied by a degradation in content. I also discuss the prospects for a positive account of the contents specific to distorted experiences, which I argue are dim, but for reasons that should not throw doubt on the representationalist thesis. (shrink)
Does A cause B simply if A prevents what would have prevented B? Such a case is known as double prevention: where we have the prevention of a prevention. One theory of causation is that A causes B when B counterfactually depends on A and, as there is such a dependence, proponents of the view must rule that double prevention is causation.<br><br>However, if double prevention is causation, it means that causation can be an extrinsic matter, that the (...) cause and effect need not be connected by a continuous chain of events, that there can be causation by absence, and that there can be causation at a distance. All of these implications jar with strong intuitions we have about the nature of causation. There is, on the other hand, a theory of causation based on an ontology of real dispositions, where causation involves the passing around of powers. This theory in contrast entails that double prevention is not causation and, on this issue, it can claim a victory over the counterfactual dependence account. (shrink)
T. A. Cavanaugh defends double-effect reasoning (DER), also known as the principle of double effect. DER plays a role in anti-consequentialist ethics (such as deontology), in hard cases in which one cannot realize a good without also causing a foreseen, but not intended, bad effect (for example, killing non-combatants when bombing a military target). This study is the first book-length account of the history and issues surrounding this controversial approach to hard cases. It will be indispensable in theoretical (...) ethics, applied ethics (especially medical and military), and moral theology. It will also interest legal and public policy scholars. (shrink)
There is substantial textual evidence that Kant held the doctrine of double affection: subjects are causally affected both by things in themselves and by appearances. However, Kant commentators have been loath to attribute this view to him, for the doctrine of double affection is widely thought to face insuperable problems. I begin by explaining what I take to be the most serious problem faced by the doctrine of double affection: appearances cannot cause the very experience in virtue (...) of which they have their empirical properties. My solution consists in distinguishing the sense of ‘experience’ in which empirical objects cause experience from the sense of ‘experience’ in which experience determines empirical objects. I call the latter ‘Strong Experience.’ I develop my conception of Strong Experience, and then I explain how it solves the problem of double affection. I conclude by addressing several objections. (shrink)
In this new book Moral Dimensions, T. M. Scanlon (2008) explores the ethical significance of the intentions and motives with which people act. According to Scanlon, these intentions and motives do not have any direct bearing on the permissibility of the act. Thus, Scanlon claims that the traditional Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) is mistaken. However, the way in which someone is motivated to act has a direct bearing on what Scanlon calls the act's "meaning". One particularly important kind (...) of "meaning" that an act can have consists in the ways in which it is appropriate for various people to blame the agent for the act. So the book ends with an extended analysis of blame and blameworthiness. (shrink)
I argue against the Doctrine of Double Effect’s explanation of the moral difference between terror bombing and strategic bombing. I show that the standard thought-experiment of Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber which dominates this debate is underdetermined in three crucial respects: (1) the non-psychological worlds of Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber; (2) the psychologies of Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber; and (3) the structure of the thought-experiment, especially in relation to its similarity with the Trolley Problem. (1) If the (...) two worlds are not identical, then it may be these differences between the two worlds and not the Doctrine of Double Effect to explain the moral difference; (2a) if Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber have the same causal beliefs, then why does Terror Bomber set out to kill the children? It may then be this unwarranted and immoral choice and not the Doctrine of Double Effect that explains the moral difference; (2b) if the two have different causal beliefs, then we can’t rule out the counterfactual that, had Strategic Bomber had the same beliefs as Terror Bomber, she would have also acted as Terror Bomber did. Finally, (3) the Strategic Bomber scenario could also be constructed so as to be structurally equivalent to the Fat Man scenario in the Trolley Problem: but then the Doctrine of Double Effect would give different answers to two symmetrical cases. (shrink)
I defend the argument that if embryo loss in stem cell research is morally problematic, then embryo loss in in vivo conception is similarly morally problematic. According to a recent challenge to this argument, we can distinguish between in vivo embryo loss and the in vitro embryo loss of stem cell research by appealing to the Doctrine of Double Effect. I argue that this challenge fails to show that in vivo embryo loss is a mere unintended side-effect while in (...) vitro embryo loss is an intended means and that, even if we refine the challenge by appealing to Michael Bratman’s three roles of intention, the distinction is still unwarranted. (shrink)
Scanlon (2008) has argued that his theory of permissibility (STP) has more explanatory power than the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE). I believe this claim is wrong. Borrowing Michael Walzer’s method of inquiry, I will evaluate the explanatory virtue of these accounts by their understanding of actual moral intuitions originated in historical cases. Practically, I will evaluate these accounts as they explain cases of hostage crises. The main question in this context is: is it permissible that nation-states act with (...) military force in order to liberate hostages, even if those actions put the lives of the hostages at risk? The first part of this paper has an operative reconstruction of the relevant theories. In the second section, two cases of hostage crises will be considered: the Moscow theater hostage crisis of 2002, and the Jaque Operation, which occurred in Colombia in 2008. Additionally, it will be shown that DDE explains these cases better than STP. Finally, this paper offers a critical analysis of Scanlon’s account of the explanatory power of both STP and DDE. (shrink)
Recent developments in biogerontology—the study of the biology of ageing—suggest that it may eventually be possible to intervene in the human ageing process. This, in turn, offers the prospect of significantly postponing the onset of age-related diseases. The biogerontological project, however, has met with strong resistance, especially by deontologists. They consider the act of intervening in the ageing process impermissible on the grounds that it would (most probably) bring about an extended maximum lifespan—a state of affairs that they deem intrinsically (...) bad. In a bid to convince their deontological opponents of the permissibility of this act, proponents of biogerontology invoke an argument which is grounded in the doctrine of double effect. Surprisingly, their argument, which we refer to as the ‘double effect argument’, has gone unnoticed. This article exposes and critically evaluates this ‘double effect argument’. To this end, we first review a series of excerpts from the ethical debate on biogerontology in order to substantiate the presence of double effect reasoning. Next, we attempt to determine the role that the ‘double effect argument’ is meant to fulfil within this debate. Finally, we assess whether the act of intervening in ageing actually can be justified using double effect reasoning. (shrink)
The Rule of Double Effect (RDE) holds that it may be permissible to harm an individual while acting for the sake of a proportionate good, given that the harm is not an intended means to the good but merely a foreseen side-effect. Although frequently used in medical ethical reasoning, the rule has been repeatedly questioned in the past few decades. However, Daniel Sulmasy, a proponent who has done a lot of work lately defending the RDE, has recently presented a (...) reformulated and more detailed version of the rule. Thanks to its greater precision, this reinvented RDE avoids several problems thought to plague the traditional RDE. Although an improvement compared with the traditional version, we argue that Sulmasy's reinvented RDE will not stand closer scrutiny. Not only has the range of proper applicability narrowed significantly, but, more importantly, Sulmasy fails to establish that there is a morally relevant distinction between intended and foreseen effects. In particular, he fails to establish that there is any distinction that can account for the alleged moral difference between sedation therapy and euthanasia. (shrink)
Incidental perceptual memory tests reveal priming when words are generated orally from a semantic cue at study, and this priming could reflect contamination by voluntary retrieval. We tested this hypothesis using a generate condition and two read conditions that differed in depth of processing (read-phonemic vs read-semantic). An intentional word-stem completion test showed an advantage for the read-semantic over the generate condition and an advantage for the generate over the read-phonemic condition, and completion times were longer than in a control (...) test, prior to which there was no study phase. An incidental word-stem completion test showed equivalent priming for the read-semantic and read-phonemic study conditions, despite considerable power, and completion times were no longer than control, indicating that retrieval was involuntary, and insensitive to prior conceptual processing. The generate condition produced less priming than the read conditions, but significant priming nonetheless. The results show that priming from generating can be involuntary and suggest that lexical processes are responsible. They are also the first results conjointly showing a crossed doubledissociation, a single dissociation, and a parallel effect across memory tests with identical physical retrieval cues. (shrink)
It has been argued that schizophrenic delusions are “behaviourally inert.” This is evidence for the phenomenon of “double bookkeeping,” according to which people are not consistent in their commitment to the content of their delusions. The traditional explanation for the phenomenon is that people do not genuinely believe the content of their delusions. In the article, we resist the traditional explanation and offer an alternative hypothesis: people with delusions often fail to acquire or to maintain the motivation to act (...) on their delusional beliefs. This may be due to avolition, to emotional disturbances, or to the fact that, given the peculiar content of some delusions, the surrounding environment does not support the agent’s motivation to act. (shrink)
One of the reasons why most of us feel puzzled about the problem of abortion is that we want, and do not want, to allow to the unborn child the rights that belong to adults and children. When we think of a baby about to be born it seems absurd to think that the next few minutes or even hours could make so radical a difference to its status; yet as we go back in the life of the fetus we (...) are more and more reluctant to say that this is a human being and must be treated as such. No doubt this is the deepest source of our dilemma, but it is not the only one. For we are also confused about the general question of what we may and may not do where the interests of human beings conflict. We have strong intuitions about certain cases; saying, for instance, that it is all right to raise the level of education in our country, though statistics allow us to predict that a rise in the suicide rate will follow, while it is not all right to kill the feeble-minded to aid cancer research. It is not easy, however, to see the principles involved, and one way of throwing light on the abortion issue will be by setting up parallels involving adults or children once born. So we will be able to isolate the “equal rights” issue and should be able to make some advance... (shrink)
In this article I have two primary goals. First, I present two recent views on the distinction between knowledge-that and knowledge-how (Stanley and Williamson, The Journal of Philosophy 98(8):411–444, 2001; Hetherington, Epistemology futures, 2006). I contend that neither of these provides conclusive arguments against the distinction. Second, I discuss studies from neuroscience and experimental psychology that relate to this distinction. Having examined these studies, I then defend a third view that explains certain relevant data from these studies by positing the (...)doubledissociation of knowledge-that and knowledge-how and that is also able to do explanatory work elsewhere. (shrink)
Often when there is no attention to an object, there is no conscious perception of it either, leading some to conclude that conscious perception is an attentional phenomenon. There is a well-known perceptual phenomenon—visuo-spatial crowding, in which objects are too closely packed for attention to single out one of them. This article argues that there is a variant of crowding—what I call ‘‘identity-crowding’’—in which one can consciously see a thing despite failure of attention to it. This conclusion, together with new (...) evidence that attention to an object occurs in unconscious perception, suggests there may be a doubledissociation between conscious perception of an object and attention to that object, constraining the extent to which consciousness can be constitutively attentional. The argument appeals to a comparison between the minimal resolution (or ‘‘grain’’) of object-attention and object-seeing. (shrink)
Nativists about syntactic processing have argued that linguisticprocessing, understood as the implementation of a rule-basedcomputational architecture, is spared in Williams syndrome, (WMS)subjects – and hence that it provides evidence for a geneticallyspecified language module. This argument is bolstered by treatingSpecific Language Impairments (SLI) and WMS as a developmental doubledissociation which identifies a syntax module. Neuroconstructivists haveargued that the cognitive deficits of a developmental disorder cannot beadequately distinguished using the standard gross behavioural tests ofneuropsychology and that the linguistic abilities of the (...) WMS subject canbe equally well explained by a constructivist strategy of neurallearning in the individual, with linguisitic functions implemented in anassociationist architecture. The neuroconstructivist interpretation ofWMS undermines the hypothesis of a doubledissociation between SLI andWMS, leaving unresolved the question of nativism about syntax. Theapparent linguistic virtuosity of WMS subjects is an artefact ofenhanced phonological processing, a fact which is easier to demonstratevia the associationist computational model embraced byneuroconstructivism. (shrink)
A number of single- and dual-process theories provide competing explanations as to how reasoners evaluate conditional arguments. Some of these theories are typically linked to different instructions?namely deductive and inductive instructions. To assess whether responses under both instructions can be explained by a single process, or if they reflect two modes of conditional reasoning, we re-analysed four experiments that used both deductive and inductive instructions for conditional inference tasks. Our re-analysis provided evidence consistent with a single process. In two new (...) experiments we established a doubledissociation of deductive and inductive instructions when validity and plausibility of conditional problems were pitted against each other. This indicates that at least two processes contribute to conditional reasoning. We conclude that single-process theories of conditional reasoning cannot explain the observed results. Theories that postulate at least two processes are needed to account for our findings. (shrink)
This article reports a study comparing the effects of a single dose of alcohol with a matched placebo drink on recognition memory with and without conscious recollection. A double-blind, cross-over design was used with healthy volunteers who were all social drinkers. Processing depth at study was manipulated using generate versus read instructions. Conscious recollection at test was assessed using the remember-know-guess paradigm (Gardiner, 1988; Tulving, 1985). Alcohol significantly reduced conscious recollection (remember responses) but had no effect on recognition in (...) the absence of conscious recollection (know responses). False alarms rates were low and unaffected by alcohol. Previous findings that generation effects are found only for remember responses were closely replicated. A further dissociation of the generation effect occurred between treatments in that deeper processing at study facilitated recognition on placebo but not on alcohol. That both alcohol and depth of processing produce dissociative effects on recollective experience provides further evidence that remembering and knowing reflect distinct memory systems. (shrink)
I argue that the Doctrine of Double Effect is accepted because of unreliable processes of belief-formation, making it unacceptably likely to be mistaken. We accept the doctrine because we more vividly imagine intended consequences of our actions than merely foreseen ones, making our aversions to the intended harms more violent, and making us judge that producing the intended harms is morally worse. This explanation fits psychological evidence from Schnall and others, and recent neuroscientific research from Greene, Klein, Kahane, and (...) Schaich Borg. It explains Mikhail and Hauser’s “universal moral grammar” and an interesting phenomenon about Double Effect cases noted by Bennett. When unequally vivid representations determine our decisions, we typically misjudge the merits of our options and make mistakes. So if Double Effect is a product of unequal vividness, it is likely to be mistaken. This argument, I claim, fits Berker’s specifications for good empirically grounded arguments in ethics. (shrink)
The use of terminal sedation to control theintense discomfort of dying patients appearsboth to be an established practice inpalliative care and to run counter to the moraland legal norm that forbids health careprofessionals from intentionally killingpatients. This raises the worry that therequirements of established palliative care areincompatible with moral and legal opposition toeuthanasia. This paper explains how thedoctrine of double effect can be relied on todistinguish terminal sedation from euthanasia. The doctrine of double effect is rooted inCatholic moral (...) casuistry, but its applicationin law and morality need not depend on theparticular framework in which it was developed. The paper further explains how the moral weightof the distinction between intended harms andmerely foreseen harms in the doctrine of doubleeffect can be justified by appeal to alimitation on the human capacity to pursue good. (shrink)
I defend the doctrine of double effect and a so-called ‘strict’ definition of intention: A intends an effect if and only if A has it as an end or believes that it is a state of affairs in the causal sequence that will result in A's end. Following Kamm's proposed ‘doctrine of triple effect’, I distinguish an intended effect from an effect that motivates an action, and show that this distinction is morally significant. I use several contrived cases as (...) illustrations, but my position does not depend on intuitive judgements about them. Instead, it follows from the view that the moral permissibility of an action depends at least partly on how it forms the agent's character. I also respond to some objections presented by Harris, Bennett, McIntyre, Thomson and Scanlon to the doctrine of double effect. (shrink)
The difficulty of distinguishing between the intended and the merely foreseen consequences of actions seems to many to be the most serious problem for the doctrine of double effect. It has led some to reject the doctrine altogether, and has left some of its defenders recasting it in entirely different terms. I argue that these responses are unnecessary. Using Bratman’s conception of intention, I distinguish the intended consequences of an action from the merely foreseen in a way that can (...) be used to support the doctrine of double effect. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider three arguments for the irrelevance of the doctrine of double effect in end-of-life decision making. The third argument is our own and, to that extent, we seek to defend it. The first argument is that end-of-life decisions do not in fact shorten lives and that therefore there is no need for the doctrine in justification of these decisions. We reject this argument; some end-of-life decisions clearly shorten lives. The second is that the doctrine of (...)double effect is not recognized in UK law (and similar jurisdictions); therefore, clinicians cannot use it as the basis for justification of their decisions. Against this we suggest that while the doctrine might have dubious legal grounds, it could be of relevance in some ways, e.g. in marking the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable practice in relation to the clinician's duty to relieve pain and suffering. The third is that the doctrine is irrelevant because it requires there to be a bad effect that needs justification. This is not the case in end-of-life care for patients diagnosed as dying. Here, bringing about a satisfactory dying process for a patient is a good effect, not a bad one. What matters is that patients die without pain and suffering. This marks a crucial departure from the double-effect doctrine; if the patient's death is not a bad effect then the doctrine is clearly irrelevant. A diagnosis of dying allows clinicians to focus on good dying and not to worry about whether their intervention affects the time of death. For a patient diagnosed as dying, time of death is rarely important. In our conclusion we suggest that acceptance of our argument might be problematic for opponents of physician-assisted death. We suggest one way in which these opponents might argue for a distinction between such practice and palliative care; this relies on the double-effect doctrine's distinction between foresight and intention. (shrink)
The paper outlines and explores a possible strategy for defending both the action/omission distinction (AOD) and the principle of double effect (PDE). The strategy is to argue that there are degrees of actionhood, and that we are in general less responsible for what has a lower degree of actionhood, because of that lower degree. Moreover, what we omit generally has a lower degree of actionhood than what we actively do, and what we do under known-but-not-intended descriptions generally has a (...) lower degree of actionhood than what we do under known-and-intended descriptions. Therefore, we are in general less responsible for what we omit than for what we do—which is just what AOD says. And we are in general less responsible for what we do under known-but-not-intended descriptions than for what we do under known-and-intended descriptions—which is just what PDE says. (shrink)
The Doctrine of Double Effect has been challenged by the claim that what an agent intends as a means may be limited to those effects that are precisely characterized by the descriptions under which the agent believes that they are minimally causally necessary for the production of other effects that the agent seeks to bring about. If based on so narrow a conception of an intended means, the traditional Doctrine of Double Effect becomes limitlessly permissive. In this paper (...) I examine and criticize Warren Quinn's attempt to reformulate the Doctrine in such a way that it retains its force and plausibility even if we accept the narrow conception of an intended means. Building on Quinn's insights, I conclude by offering a further version of the Doctrine that retains the virtues of Quinn's account but avoids the objections to it. I The key element in the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) is the claim that there is a stronger presumption against action that has harm to the innocent as an intended effect than there is against otherwise comparable action that causes the same amount of harm to the innocent as a foreseen but unintended effect. Since it is relatively uncontroversial that, except perhaps in cases involving desert, it is wrong to cause harm as an end in itself, the DDE is normally invoked to distinguish morally between harm that is intended as a means and harm that is considered a merely foreseen side-effect. (shrink)
Few moral theorists would disagree that the fundamental principle of morality – perhaps of practical rationality itself – is “ Do good and avoid evil. ” Yet along with such an uncontroversial principle comes a major question: Can you fulfi l both halves satisfactorily across your life as a moral agent? We all have opportunities to perform acts that do good with no accompanying evil, but these are not as common as we might think. We can avoid evil by doing (...) nothing, but doing nothing implies doing no good either. Clearly the fundamental principle does not require that you go about your life doing good on any and every possible occasion any more than that you sit on your hands and abstain from action out of fear of doing evil. The principle tells us to avoid evil, not to refrain from ever causing it. And the simple fact is that the complexities of life make it inevitable that, much of the time when we go about doing good, we will also be doing evil. Further, they are such that sometimes we can avoid evil only at the cost of not performing a good act which reasonable people would regard as at least permissible, if not sometimes obligatory. So how, as rational, morally responsible agents, are we to satisfy the fundamental principle in an adequate, harmonious fashion, given life ’ s exigencies? This is where the so - called ‘ doctrine of double effect ’ comes into play. Some call it a doctrine, infl uenced by the fact that Catholic ethicists and moral theologians have, since the Middle Ages, codifi ed and ratifi ed it as something akin to a doctrine of Catholic moral philosophy. Others call it the ‘ principle of double effect, ’ though it breaks down into a set of principles unifi ed by a common idea. Yet other writers see it simply as a kind of reasoning about certain types of hard case in ethics. Whatever the preferred nomenclature, the DDE, as I will call it here, is – for all its critics and the diffi culties it faces – a keystone of sound moral thinking, without which the fundamental principle would remain nothing but a high ideal with little consistent applicability. So consider a simple example.. (shrink)
The condition known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is metaphysically strange. Can there really be several distinct persons operating in a single body? Our view is that DID sufferers are single persons with a severe mental disorder. In this paper we compare the phenomenology of dissociation between personality states in DID with certain delusional disorders. We argue both that the burden of proof must lie with those who defend the metaphysically extravagant Multiple Persons view (...) and that there is little theoretical motivation to yield to that view in light of the fact that the core symptoms of DID bear remarkable similarity to the symptoms of these other disorders where no such extravagance is ever seriously entertained. (shrink)
According to the doctrine of double effect(DDE), there is a morally significantdifference between harm that is intended andharm that is merely foreseen and not intended.It is not difficult to explain why it is bad tointend harm as an end (you have a ``badattitude'' toward that harm) but it is hard toexplain why it is bad to intend harm as a meansto some good end. If you intend harm as a meansto some good end, you need not have a ``badattitude'' (...) toward it. I distinguish two ways inwhich you can treat something that is yourchosen means to your ends. You can pursue yourends directly, and treat X as a mere means thatyou pursue for the sake of your end. Or you canpursue your ends indirectly, and treat X as a``plan-relative end'' that you pursue for its ownsake. I argue that much of the time we pursueour ends indirectly, and treat our means asplan-relative ends. There are significantanalogies between intending harm as an end, andintending harm as a plan-relative end. So,under certain circumstances, it is morallyworse to intend harm as a means or an end thanto foresee bringing about the same amount of harm. (shrink)
This paper examines the doctrine of double effect as it is typically applied. The difficulty of distinguishing between what we intend and what we foresee is highlighted. In particular, Warren Quinn's articulation of that distinction is examined and criticised. It is then proposed that the only credible way that we can be said to foresee that a harm will result and mean something other than that we intend it to result, is if we are not certain that that harm (...) will result. The ramifications of this are explored. The paper concludes with a moral evaluation of a variety of cases that have harmful outcomes. It is recommended both that we abandon the doctrine of double effect and that we cease to describe cases with harmful outcomes in a dishonest way. (shrink)
This essay defends a version of the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) – the doctrine that there is normally a stronger reason against an act that has a bad state of affairs as one of its intended effects than against an otherwise similar act that has that bad state of affairs as an unintended effect. First, a precise account of this version of the DDE is given. Secondly, some suggestions are made about why we should believe the DDE, and (...) about why it is true. Finally, a solution is developed to the so-called ‘closeness problem’ that any version of the DDE must face. (shrink)
I argue that the moral distinction in double effect cases rests on a difference not in intention as traditionally stated in the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE), but in desire. The traditional DDE has difficulty ensuring that an agent intends the bad effect just in those cases where what he does is morally objectionable. I show firstly that the mental state of a rational agent who is certain that a side-effect will occur satisfies Bratman's criteria for intending that (...) effect. I then clarify the nature of the moral distinction in double effect cases and how it can be used to evaluate the moral blameworthiness of agents rather than the moral status of acts. The agent's blameworthiness is reduced not by his lack of intention but by his desire not to bring about the side-effect, and the 'counterfactual test' can be used to determine whether he desires the effect in acting. In my version, the DDE has its rationale in virtue ethics; it is not liable to abuse as the traditional version is; and it makes more plausible distinctions when applied to standard examples. (shrink)
This paper claims as erroneous the current widespread representation of the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) as primarily condemning as intrinsically bad actions involving intentional harm. The DDE's Four Conditions are in fact used solely for justifying certain intrinsically good actions with both intended good and unintended bad effects. Though contemporary writers assign a minor justificatory role to the DDE this is incompatible with their attribution to it of a primary prohibitive role. Not only is the conduct cited by (...) these writers as justifiable under the DDE so morally innocuous as to require no justification, but any attempt to justify it by appeal to the DDE leads to incoherence. We finally suggest reasons for this misinterpretation in current concerns with the structure of deontological moral theories. (shrink)
The Doctrine of Double Effect and the Principle of Do No Harm raise important theoretical and practical issues, some of which are discussed by Boyle, Donagan, and Quinn. I argue that neither principle is correct, and some revisionist, and probably nonabsolutist, analysis of constraints on action and omission is necessary. In making these points, I examine several approaches to deflection of threat cases, discuss an argument for the permissibility of voluntary euthanasia, and present arguments relevant to medical contexts which (...) justify intentionally hanning some to aid others, with and without the consent of those harmed. Keywords: consent, double effect, euthanasia, harming, organ transplantation, scarce resources, trolley problem CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The doctrine of double effect continues to be an important tool in bioethical casuistry. Its role within the Catholic moral tradition continues, and there is considerable interest in it by contemporary moral philosophers. But problems of justification and correct application remain. I argue that if the traditional Catholic conviction that there are exceptionless norms prohibiting inflicting some kinds of harms on people is correct, then double effect is justified and necessary. The objection that double effect is superfluous (...) is a rejection of that normative conviction, not a refutation of double effect itself. This justification suggests the correct way of applying double effect to controversial cases. But versions of double effect which dispense with the absolutism of the Catholic tradition lack justification and fall to the objection that double effect is an unnecessary complication. Keywords: double effect, intention, side effect CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Recent discussions of the doctrine of double effect have contained improved versions of the doctrine not subject to some of the difficulties of earlier versions. There is no longer one doctrine of double effect. This essay evaluates four versions of the doctrine: two formulations of the traditional Catholic doctrine, Joseph Boyle's revision of that doctrine, and Warren Quinn's version of the doctrine. I conclude that all of these versions are flawed. Keywords: double effect, intention, Joseph Boyle, medical (...) ethics, Warren Quinn CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In his book Moral Dimensions. Permissibility, Meaning, Blame , T.M. Scanlon proposes a new account of permissibility, and argues, against the doctrine of double effect (DDE), that intentions do not matter for permissibility. I argue that Scanlon's account of permissibility as based on what the agent should have known at the time of action does not sufficiently take into account Scanlon's own emphasis on permissibility as a question for the deliberating agent. A proper account of permissibility, based on the (...) agent's actual beliefs, will allow us to revise the principle Scanlon proposes for regulating the use of violence in war, and to show that, while the DDE as such might be invalid, its focus on intentions does point toward an important element which Scanlon's proposal lacks, viz. the requirement that the agent believes that her actions will have certain consequences and can be justified for that reason. (shrink)
The purpose of this note is to tidy up some matters concerning ascriptions of intention and the employment of the doctrine of double effect (henceforth DDE). I first argue that Jonathan Bennett’s efforts to show that DDE is a foolish doctrine are unsatisfactory. I then consider a puzzle of Mark Johnston’s that seems to pose a problem for the defender of DDE. I turn to possible solutions to the puzzle, criticize one, and then offer the one I find most (...) appealing. I then show how my proposal for employing DDE enables it to make some distinctions between courses of conduct without issuing foolish pronouncements about moral permissibility. (shrink)
Clearly we can perceive both objects, and various aspects or appearances of those objects. But how should that complexity of perceptual content be explained or analyzed? I argue that perceptual representations normally have a double or two level nested structure of content, so as to adequately incorporate information both about contextual aspects Y(X) of an object X, and about the object X itself. On this double content (DC) view, perceptual processing starts with aspectual data Y?(X?) as a higher (...) level of content, which data does not itself provide lower level X-related content, but only an aspectually encoded form of such data. Hence the relevant perceptual data Y?(X?) must be. (shrink)
The emphasis on the limitations of objectivity, in specific guises and networks, has been a continuing theme of contemporary analytic philosophy for the past few decades. The popular sport of baiting feminist philosophers — into pointing to what's left out of objective knowledge, or into describing what methods, exactly, they would offer to replace the powerful objective methods grounding scientific knowledge — embodies a blatant double standard which has the effect of constantly putting feminist epistemologists on the defensive, on (...) the fringes, on the run.This strategy can only work if objectivity is transparent, simple, stable, and clear in its meaning. It most certainly is not. In fact, taking objectivity as a sort of beautiful primitive, self-evident in its value, and all-powerful in its revelatory power, requires careless philosophy, and the best workers in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science have made reworked definitions of objectivity absolutely central to their own projects. In fact, classic feminist concerns with exploring the impact of sex and gender on knowledge, understanding, and other relations between human beings and the rest of the world fall squarely within the sort of human and social settings thatare already considered central in most current analytic metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. I argue that the burden of proof is clearly on those who wish toreject the centrality and relevance of sex and gender to our most fundamental philosophical work on knowledge and reality. (shrink)
In replying to my article ‘An Error about the Doctrine of Double Effect’, Kaufman claims that the permission given by the four-condition Doctrine for certain mixed actions is merely complementary to an absolute prohibition—which he claims is the DDE's primary function. I point out again that in many cases this makes an appeal to the DDE's fourth condition not merely redundant but incoherent. Furthermore, his claim that I am a utilitarian maximizer, frustrated by a doctrine prohibiting intentional harms, however (...) great the net overall benefit, is based on a misrepresentation. I did not object to a candidate for justification under the DDE being rejected before reaching the fourth condition, only to its being accepted. (shrink)
Philosophers from Hart to Lewis, Johnston and Bennett have expressed various degrees of reservation concerning the doctrine of double effect. A common concern is that, with regard to many activities that double effect is traditionally thought to prohibit, what might at first look to be a directly intended bad effect is really, on closer examination, a directly intended neutral effect that is closely connected to a foreseen bad effect. This essay examines the extent to which the commonsense concept (...) of intention supports a reasonably consistent and coherent application of double effect. Two important conclusions are these: (1) a number of traditionally proscribed activities involve a kind of “targeting” of innocents that can be taken to exhibit a direct intention to harm them; (2) a direct intention to harm need not involve a desire to harm in any ordinary sense of the latter expression. (shrink)
The feature of being ‘double blind’, where neither patients nor physicians are aware of who receives the experimental treatment, is universally trumpeted as being a virtue of clinical trials. The rationale for this view is unobjectionable: double blinding rules out the potential confounding influences of patient and physician beliefs. Nonetheless, viewing successfully double blind trials as necessarily superior leads to the paradox that very effective experimental treatments will not be supportable by best (double-blind) evidence. It seems (...) strange that an account of evidence should make a priori judgments that certain claims can never be supported by ‘best evidence’. So far as treatments with large effects go, the claim that they are effective is highly testable and intuitively they should receive greater support from the evidence. In this paper I argue that the two potential confounders ruled out by double blinding are often not actual confounders outside placebo controlled trials of treatments with mild effects and that have subjective outcome measures. (shrink)
The U.S. Supreme Court's majorityopinion in Vacco v. Quill assumes thatthe principle of double effect explains thepermissibility of hastening death in thecontext of ordinary palliative care and inextraordinary cases in which painkilling drugshave failed to relieve especially intractablesuffering and terminal sedation has beenadopted as a last resort. The traditionaldoctrine of double effect, understood asproviding a prohibition on instrumental harmingas opposed to incidental harming or harming asa side effect, must be distinguished from otherways in which the claim that a (...) result is notintended might be offered as part of ajustification for it. Although double effectmight appropriately be invoked as a constrainton ordinary palliative care, it is not clearthat it can be coherently extended to justifysuch practices as terminal sedation. A betterapproach would reconsider double effect'straditional prohibition on hastening death as ameans to relieve suffering in the context ofacute palliative care. (shrink)
To what extent do moral judgments depend on conscious reasoning from explicitly understood principles? We address this question by investigating one particular moral principle, the principle of the double effect. Using web-based technology, we collected a large data set on individuals' responses to a series of moral dilemmas, asking when harm to innocent others is permissible. Each moral dilemma presented a choice between action and inaction, both resulting in lives saved and lives lost. Results showed that: (1) patterns of (...) moral judgments were consistent with the principle of double effect and showed little variation across differences in gender, age, educational level, ethnicity, religion or national affiliation (within the limited range of our sample population) and (2) a majority of subjects failed to provide justifications that could account for their judgments. These results indicate that the principle of the double effect may be operative in our moral judgments but not open to conscious introspection. We discuss these results in light of current psychological theories of moral cognition, emphasizing the need to consider the unconscious appraisal system that mentally represents the causal and intentional properties of human action. (shrink)
Based on an analysis of double hermeneutics in the human sciences, a distinction between a weak and a strong rhetorical analysis of human-scientific research is introduced, taking account of the self-reflective character of hermeneutic interpretation. The paper argues that there are three hermeneutic topics in the research process for human-scientific experience, which are associated with applying specific rhetorical tools. The three topics are described under the following rubrics: (a) bridging the gap between experience-near and experience-distant concepts; (b) achieving integrity (...) of the cultural objects dispersed in different interpretive strategies; and (c) taking into consideration that an important task of hermeneutic interpretation in human-scientific research is to give an account of the object's immanent narrative coherence. The paper is written in the conviction that a kind of re-methodologization of philosophical hermeneutics which does not rehabilitate epistemological foundationalism can provide a new philosophical identity to the human sciences. (shrink)
In a recent contribution to this journal, Patrick Tully criticizes my view that the doctrine of double effect does not prohibit a pharmaceutical company from selling a drug that has potentially fatal side-effects and that does not treat a life-threatening condition. Tully alleges my account is too permissive and makes the doctrine irrelevant to decisions about selling harmful products. In the following paper, I respond to Tully’s objections and show that he misinterprets my position and misstates some elements of (...) the doctrine of double effect. I also show how the doctrine constrains some decisions about marketing drugs with potentially fatal side-effects. (shrink)
Among the alternatives of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM) there are those that give different predictions than quantum mechanics in yet-untested circumstances, while remaining compatible with current empirical findings. In order to test these predictions, one must isolate one’s system from environmental induced decoherence, which, on the standard view of NRQM, is the dynamical mechanism that is responsible for the ‘apparent’ collapse in open quantum systems. But while recent advances in condensed-matter physics may lead in the near future to experimental setups (...) that will allow one to test the two hypotheses, namely genuine collapse vs. decoherence, hence make progress toward a solution to the quantum measurement problem, those philosophers and physicists who are advocating an information-theoretic approach to the foundations of quantum mechanics are still unwilling to acknowledge the empirical character of the issue at stake. Here I argue that in doing so they are displaying an unwarranted double standard. r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
A picture provides both configurational content concerning its design features, and recognitional content about its external subject. But how is this possible, since all that a viewer can actually see is the picture's own design? I argue that the most plausible explanation is that a picture's design has a dual function. It both encodes artistically relevant design content, and in turn that design content encodes the subject content of the picture--producing overall a double content structure. Also, it is highly (...) desirable that a resulting double content theory for pictures should be closely integrated with a related double content account of perceptual content generally, so as to avoid suspicions of ad hoc theorizing that would apply only to pictorial content. The resulting theory should also be able to explain the inevitable ambiguities involved in abstracting two levels of visual content from a single visible surface, as well as explaining the systematic relations between the two kinds of content. I provide an orientational theory--based on a recently developed spatial logic of orientational concepts--for this purpose, and show how depictive and perceptual content in general can be usefully explained in these orientational terms. This account of picturing also integrates well with a previously developed, more generic double content theory of art, and it is also plausible in cognitive science terms. (shrink)
Joseph Boyle raises important questions about the place of the double-effect exception in absolutist moral theories. His own absolutist theory (held by many, but not all, Catholic moralists), which derives from the principles that fundamental human goods may not be intentionally violated, cannot dispense with such exceptions, although he rightly rejects some widely held views about what they are. By contrast, Kantian absolutist theory, which derives from the principle that lawful freedom must not be violated, has a corollary – (...) that it is a duty, where possible, to coerce those who try to violate lawful freedom – which makes superfluous many of the double-effect exceptions Boyle allows. Other implications of the two theories are contrasted. Inter alia , it is argued that, in Boyle's theory, that a violation of a fundamental human good can be viewed as a cost proportionate to a benefit obtained, cannot yield a double-effect exception to the prohibition of intentionally violating that good, because paying a cost cannot be unintentional. Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, double effect, intention, side effect CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The classical principle of double effect offers permissibility conditions for actions foreseen to lead to evil outcomes. I shall argue that certain kinds of closeness cases, as well as general heuristic considerations about the order of explanation, lead us to replace the intensional concept of intention with the extensional concept of accomplishment in double effect.
The Doctrine of Double Effect has been defended not only as a test of character but also as a criterion of wrongness for action. This paper criticises one attempt to justify the doctrine in the latter capacity. The justification, first proposed by Warren Quinn, traces the wrongness of intending harm as a means to the objectionable features of certain reasons for making this our intention. As I argue, however, some of the actions which seem to us to be permissible, (...) and whose permissibility the DDE is supposed to explain, can be performed for these objectionable reasons. Since the proposed justification implies that any action is wrong when performed for these reasons, it renders the DDE incapable of accommodating the very intuitions about action which its proponents would have it explain. (shrink)
Suppose that one initiates a causal sequence leading to a basically evil state of affairs, but does not intend the evil effect, and the good effects of the action are proportionate to the bad. A state of affairs is a “basic evil” provided it is evil in virtue of itself and not in virtue of its connection with other states of affairs. The classic form of the Principle of Double Effect (PDE) can be taken to state that then the (...) action that initiated the causal sequence is not wrong on account of the basically evil state of affairs it produces. The action might still be wrong for some other reason, say by violating a promise, or causing some other basically evil state of affairs, or being a.. (shrink)