Bernard Prusak
Kings College
This paper reconsiders whether Aquinas is rightly read as a double-effect thinker and whether it is right to understand him as concurring with Paul’s dictum that evil is not to be done that good may come. I focus on what to make of Aquinas’s position that, though the private citizen may not intend to kill a man in self-defense, those holding public authority, like soldiers, may rightly do so. On my interpretation, we cannot attribute to Aquinas the position that aiming to kill in self-defense is prohibited where so aiming is the only way to stay alive. Instead, for the private citizen though not for the public authority, it is aiming to kill as an end in itself, over and above the aim of saving one’s life, that is prohibited. Accordingly, we also cannot attribute to Aquinas the third condition of the principle of double effect in its textbook formulation.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 1051-3558
DOI 10.5840/acpq201561556
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