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Thomas Cavanaugh
University of San Francisco
  1. Double-Effect Reasoning: Doing Good and Avoiding Evil.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
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    Anscombe, Thomson, and Double Effect.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2016 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):263-280.
    In “Modern Moral Philosophy” Anscombe argues that the distinction between intention of an end or means and foresight of a consequentially comparable outcome proves crucial in act-evaluation. The deontologist J. J. Thomson disagrees. She asserts that Anscombe mistakes the distinction’s moral import; it bears on agent-evaluation, not act-evaluation. I map out the contours of this dispute. I show that it implicates other disagreements, some to be expected and others not to be expected. Amongst the expected, one finds the ethicists’ accounts (...)
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    Anscombe, Thomson, and Double Effect in Advance.T. A. Cavanaugh - forthcoming - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.
  4.  36
    Temporal Indiscriminateness: The Case of Cluster Bombs.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2010 - Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (1):135-145.
    This paper argues that the current stock of anti-personnel cluster bombs are temporally indiscriminate, and, therefore, unjust weapons. The paper introduces and explains the idea of temporal indiscriminateness. It argues that to honor non-combatant immunity—in addition to not targeting civilians—one must adequately target combatants. Due to their high dud rate, cluster submunitions fail to target combatants with sufficient temporal accuracy, and, thereby, result in avoidable serious harm to non-combatants. The paper concludes that non-combatant immunity and the principle of discrimination require (...)
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  5.  21
    Aristotle’s Voluntary / Deliberate Distinction, Double-Effect Reasoning, and Ethical Relevance.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2014 - International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (4):367-378.
    In this essay I articulate Aristotle’s account of the voluntary with a view to weighing in on a contemporary ethical debate concerning the moral relevance of the intended / foreseen distinction. Natural lawyers employ this distinction to contrast consequentially comparable acts with different intentional structures. They propose, for example, that consequentially comparable acts of terror and tactical bombing morally differ, based on their diverse structures of intention. Opponents of double-effect reasoning hold that one best captures the widely acknowledged intuitive appeal (...)
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    Double-Effect Reasoning Defended: A Response to Scanlon.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2012 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 86:267-279.
    Common morality endorses some form of an exceptionless prohibition against killing innocents. Natural lawyers employ double-effect reasoning to address hard cases involving deaths of the innocent. Current deontologists criticize DER-proponents as conflating act-with agent-evaluations. Scanlon develops this critique extensively. I respond to his criticism. He maintains that the DER-advocate tells a badly-motivated agent to refrain from an obligatory act. Thus, he asserts, the natural lawyer who employs DER errs. Instead, Scanlon proposes, one ought to assess the act as permissible while (...)
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    Double-Effect Reasoning Defended: A Response to Scanlon.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2012 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 86:267-279.
    Common morality endorses some form of an exceptionless prohibition against killing innocents. Natural lawyers employ double-effect reasoning to address hard cases involving deaths of the innocent. Current deontologists criticize DER-proponents as conflating act-with agent-evaluations. Scanlon develops this critique extensively. I respond to his criticism. He maintains that the DER-advocate tells a badly-motivated agent to refrain from an obligatory act. Thus, he asserts, the natural lawyer who employs DER errs. Instead, Scanlon proposes, one ought to assess the act as permissible while (...)
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  8.  10
    We Acknowledge with Thanks Receipt of the Following Titles. Inclusion in This List Neither Implies nor Precludes Subsequent.Don S. Browning, T. A. Cavanaugh, Celia Deane-Drummond, Peter Manley Scott, Malcolm Duncan, Julia A. Fleming & Stephen J. Grabill - 2007 - Studies in Christian Ethics 20:318-319.
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  9.  13
    Cause for Thought: An Essay in Metaphysics by John Burbridge. [REVIEW]T. A. Cavanaugh - 2015 - Review of Metaphysics 69 (1):122-123.
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  10.  12
    DER and Policy.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2015 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):539-556.
    If viable, DER justifies certain individual acts that—by definition—have two effects. Presumably, it would in some fashion justify policies concerning the very same acts. By contrast, acts that sometimes have a good effect and sometimes have a bad effect do not have the requisite two effects such that DER can justify them immediately. Yet, a policy concerning numerous such acts would have the requisite good and bad effects. For while any one such act would lack the relevant two effects, a (...)
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    Double-Effect Reasoning Defended: A Response to Scanlon.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2012 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 86:267-279.
    Common morality endorses some form of an exceptionless prohibition against killing innocents. Natural lawyers employ double-effect reasoning to address hard cases involving deaths of the innocent. Current deontologists criticize DER-proponents as conflating act-with agent-evaluations. Scanlon develops this critique extensively. I respond to his criticism. He maintains that the DER-advocate tells a badly-motivated agent to refrain from an obligatory act. Thus, he asserts, the natural lawyer who employs DER errs. Instead, Scanlon proposes, one ought to assess the act as permissible while (...)
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    “I Swear”. A Précis of Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake: The Birth of the Medical Profession.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):897-903.
    This is a condensed description of the contents and overarching argument found in Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake: The Birth of the Medical Profession. In that work, I maintain that the basic medical ethical problem concerns iatrogenic harm. I focus particularly on what I refer to as ‘role-conflation’. This most egregious form of iatrogenic harm occurs when a physician deliberately adopts the role of wounder. A contemporary practice such as physician-assisted suicide exemplifies a doctor’s deliberate wounding. I argue that the (...)
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    Permissible Killing: The Self-Defence Justification of Homicide.T. A. Cavanaugh - 1995 - Review of Metaphysics 49 (2):444-445.
    Suzanne Uniacke has written an adventurous and philosophically elegant work in which she justifies the intentional use of necessary and proportionate lethal force in private homicidal self-defense. Her contribution will interest those engaged in discussions concerning the ethics of homicide.
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    Reply to Critiques of Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake.T. A. Cavanaugh - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):933-940.
    In what follows, I reply to critical appraisals of my book entitled Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake: The Birth of the Medical Profession. Professors Tollefsen, McPherson, and Potts separately offer these thoughtful critiques. Professor Tollefsen approaches the work from the standpoint of the physician-patient relationship. Professors McPherson and Potts both address it in terms of virtues. Potts treats the theme of virtue generally while McPherson focuses on the virtue of piety. Since virtues attend relationships, in what follows, I discuss, first, (...)
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