The Doctrine of Illicit Intentions

Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (1):39-67 (2006)
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Abstract

According to the Doctrine of Illicit Intentions, it is impermissible both to form and then to act on an illicit intention. An intention is illicit, roughly, if it causes the agent who has it to be, in a certain way, disposed to perform actions that are impermissible. If the range of actions an agent might be directed to perform by an intention includes impermissible actions, then it may be impermissible to form or act on that intention even if, in the end, the agent performs no action that is impermissible (other than forming and acting on an illicit intention itself).

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