Double Effect Doctrine

1531 Words7 Pages
In this paper, I will discuss the permissibility of the Doctrine of Double Effect. I will do this by analyzing J.J Thomson’s and Thomas Nagel’s criticisms of the doctrine. The Doctrine of Double Effect is not a morally justifiable or useful distinction which will be shown by comparing the arguments of Thomson and Enoch, and discussing Just War Theory and Thomson’s argument for self-defense. The Doctrine of Double Effect is a moral theology originally created by the Catholic church. It asserts that the distinction between bringing about the death of an innocent person deliberately vs bringing about the death of an innocent person as a side effect of another action has a moral distinction. Through the Doctrine of Double Effect, a person is…show more content…
The problems that the Doctrine of Double Effect intends to solve is the problem of justification, of whether a war or military operation follow the standards of Just War Theory. I believe the best way to handle these problems is new constraints added to the Doctrine of Double Effects. Currently, the Doctrine of Double Effect is being employed in a utilitarian type manner while in definition, it appears like an absolutist reasoning. What I mean by this is the intentions are what defines permissibility, which appeals to the absolutist argument which says the means are more important than the ends. However, when being utilized in Just War Theory the Doctrine of Double Effect is used in a more utilitarian type manner because, in the Cellar scenario, where the greater good of the operation, killing combatants, justifies the generally morally prohibited action of killing innocent civilians. In conclusion, the best way to deal with the confusion this doctrine creates is to commit solely to one attitude or the other. In this case, I think the absolutist argument would function best for the established Doctrine of Double Effect. The doctrine already caters towards the importance of what is done to a person, the intentions, instead of what the end result will be. The addition of more absolutist reasoning will help give it further guidelines. It would take out the confusion of debating whether this scenario can be morally permissible one way or morally prohibited another, and instead just looks to see if the actions themselves are

More about Double Effect Doctrine

Open Document