Ethics Without Intention tackles the questions raised by difficult moral dilemmas by providing a critical analysis of double effect and its most common ethical and political applications. The book discusses the philosophical distinction between intended harm and foreseen but unintended harm. This distinction, which, according to the doctrine of double effect, makes a difference to the moral justification of actions, is widely applied to some of the most controversial ethical and political questions of our time: collateral damages in wars and acts of terrorism; palliative care, euthanasia, abortion, and embryo research; self-defence, suicide, and self-sacrifice. It is also crucial to the now notorious theoretical cases of the trolley problem and the knobe effect.
Di Nucci approaches the doctrine of double effect from four key directions: its historical origins, which can be traced further back than the classic attribution to Aquinas; its theoretical coherence, which is the subject of a lively contemporary debate in philosophy; its moral intuitiveness, which has always been taken for granted but has recently begun to be questioned; and finally its relevance to the difficult moral and political decisions of our time. An engaging and comprehensive introduction to the doctrine of double effect.
Ezio Di Nucci is Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Universitat Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
Preface 1. Introductory Remarks: We Never Do Just One Thing Part I: The Doctrine of Double Effect 2. Definitions First: Classic Formulations of the Doctrine 3. Back to the Beginning: Aristotle, Aquinas and the Origins of Double Effect Part II: Double Effect in Theory 4. The Trolley Problem 5. An Experimental Approach to the Permissibility of Killing One to Save Five 6. A Theoretical Problem with Double Effect: Closeness 7. Kamm, Kant, and Double Effect Part III: Double Effect in Practice 8. The Classic Application of Double Effect: Collateral Damages 9. An Experimental Approach to the Distinction between Intending and Merely Foreseeing 10. Bioethical Applications: The Example of Embryo Loss and Stem Cell Research 11. What Shall I Do? The Doctrine Cannot Tell Us How We May Permissibly Act 12. Concluding Remarks: Responsibility, Character and Mends Notes Bibliography Index