The doctrine of double effect

End of Life Decision-Making The principle of double effect is often mentioned in discussions of what is known as palliative care, medical care for patients with terminal illness in need of pain relief.

The Doctrine of Double Effect: Similarly, if the soldier who throws himself on the grenade in order to shield his fellow soldiers from the force of an explosion acts permissibly, and if the permissibility of his action is explained The doctrine of double effect double effect, then he must not intend to sacrifice his own life in order to save the others, he must merely foresee that his life will end as a side effect of his action.

The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect. One clearly intends to involve the aggressor or oneself in something that furthers one's purpose precisely by way of his being so involved. Sometimes we have situations where each individual behavior has good consequences, but where the total result of large numbers of people making the same choice has horrible consequences.

Since the principle of double effect implies that the latter may be permissible even when the former are not, those who wish to apply the principle of double effect must provide principled grounds for drawing this distinction. No doubt this is because at least some of the examples cited as illustrations of DE have considerable intuitive appeal: There is no research that substantiates the claim that opioid drugs administered appropriately and carefully titrated are likely to depress respiration.

For example, a physician's justification for administering drugs to relieve a patient's pain while foreseeing the hastening of death as a side effect does not The doctrine of double effect only on the fact that the physician does not intend to hasten death.

Terminal Sedation Some doctors use the deliberate sedation of patients to deep unconsciousness for the purpose of relieving suffering.

The 'Principle of Double Effect'

In both of these accounts, the fourth condition, the proportionality condition is usually understood to involve determining if the extent of the harm is adequately offset by the magnitude of the proposed benefit. The application of Double Effect to explain the permissibility of performing a hysterectomoy on a pregnant woman and the impermissibility of performing an abortion to save a woman's life is often singled out for criticism on this score.

Donating money to charity is good; using mint toothpaste instead of another flavor is morally neutral.

The doctrine of double effect

Removal of Civilians and Civilian Objects from the Vicinity of Military Objectives Each party to the conflict must, to the extent feasible, remove civilian persons and objects under its control from the vicinity of military objectives.

The mistaken assumption that the use of opioid drugs for pain relief tends to hasten death is discussed below in section 5. Michael Walzer has argued that an additional condition is required: All feasible precautions must be taken to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

If the harm is foreseen, we cannot excuse ourselves on the grounds that it's an "accident," nor on the grounds of excusable ignorance.

Death is not always bad - so double effect is irrelevant: Discussions of the Trolley Problem and the relevance of the principle of double effect to explaining our intuitions about it can be divided into three groups. In short, the act of pain relief is justified?

First, the point of mentioning the permissible hastening of death as a merely foreseen side effect may be to contrast it with what is deemed morally impermissible: If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect he should do so. Why is double effect so frequently mentioned in discussions of pain relief in the context of palliative care if its application rests on and thereby perpetuates a medical myth?

Two traditional formulations appear below.

Doctrine of double effect

If this criticism is correct, then perhaps the cases that have been cited as applications of the principle of double effect are united only by the fact that each is an exception to the general prohibition on causing the death of a human being.

Three assumptions often operate in the background of these discussions: Double effect can produce an unexpected moral result: The doctrine of double effect is sometimes put forward as a defence, but it does not always apply.

Principle of double effect

The principle of double effect i. The action must be proportional to the cause: Returned questionnaires numbered of which 47 were returned blank, some with comments for non-response, which left useable questionnaires.

Euthanasia advocates frequently claim that doctors are acting in a hypocritical way, hiding behind the permissibility of giving pain relief under the doctrine of "double effect", when in fact their primary intention is to kill the patients, not relieve their pain.

The judgment that the Terror Bomber acts impermissibly and the Strategic Bomber acts permissibly is widely affirmed. Quinn's view would imply that typical cases of self-defense and self-sacrifice would count as cases of direct agency.

A doctor who believed that abortion was wrong, even in order to save the mother's life, might nevertheless consistently believe that it would be permissible to perform a hysterectomy on a pregnant woman with cancer.

Is it morally permissible to perform that action? In this section it is argued that while proportionalists and advocates of traditional double effect use similar language and provide, in some cases, a similar analysis, they differ on one fundamental and important point. When his bombs kill civilians this is a foreseen but unintended consequence of his actions.

In any case, these conditions make death inevitable.

The doctrine of double effect

These independent considerations are not derived from the distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences and do not depend on it DavisMcIntyre Of these, respondents had access to the patient prior to death and therefore there was the potential to make an end of life decision.

The principle of double effect is much more specific than that.Jan 08,  · Doctrine of double effect. An explanation of this ethical doctrine, which suggests that when an action will have two consequences (a "double effect"), the ethicality of that action depends on which of the effects was intended.

According to the doctrine of double effect, is giving the injection morally permissible? no. The traditional natural law theorist maintains that.

Principle of double effect

how nature is reveals how it should be. A categorical imperative tells us. that we should do something in all situations regardless of our wants and needs. The Doctrine of Double Effect is a normative principle according to which in pursuing the good it is sometimes morally permissible to bring about some evil as a side-effect or merely foreseen consequence: the same evil would.

Jan 08,  · Doctrine of double effect. This doctrine says that if doing something morally good has a morally bad side-effect, it's ethically OK to do it providing the bad side-effect wasn't intended.

Dec 17,  · The doctrine of double effect. This doctrine says that if doing something morally good has a morally bad side-effect it's ethically OK to do it providing the bad side-effect wasn't intended.

This is true even if you foresaw that. The principle of double effect, once largely confined to discussions by Catholic moral theologians, in recent years has figured prominently in the discussion of both ethical theory and applied ethics by a broad range of contemporary philosophers.

Formulation of the Principle.

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The doctrine of double effect
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