Defending double effect

Philosophical Studies 116 (2):133-152 (2003)
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.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
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DOI 10.1023/B:PHIL.0000005744.80837.65
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