Th Doctrine of Double Effect: Consequentialism

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The Doctrine of Double Effect states that it is a morally relevant difference between those bad consequences we aim and intend to bring about, and those that we do not intend but still foresee as a likely outcome of our actions. Under certain circumstances, it is morally acceptable to risk certain outcomes that would not be acceptable to intend. Though it is always wrong to kill innocents deliberately, this doctrine says, it is sometimes permissible to allow certain actions to occur understanding that some side effects will be negative. Considering that some side effects involve death, we need to consider the question of whether it is ever morally permissible to use people as a means to one's end. Warren Quinn attempts to present a deontological way of viewing the Doctrine of Double Effect. The configuration of Doctrine of Double Effect prepared by Quinn makes distinctions on moral assessments. In proportion to consequentialist moral theory, the distinction the Doctrine of Double Effect comprises between intended and merely foreseen consequences does not matter for moral evaluation with the exception of factors that are consequential for production of better outcomes.

In Deontology edited by Stephen Darwill, Deontology is a element of ethical teachings centered on the idea that actions must be guided above all by adherence to clear principles. Thomas Nagel suggest that the core idea in deontological thinking is the Doctrine of Double Effect and the innermost idea is one ought not in one's actions aim at evil and in this way to be guided by evil (177). Quinn suggests that there are two major problems dealing with the rationality and discrimination between cases when it comes to the Doctrine of Double Effect. In the following exert from Deontology, Quinn gives examples of contrasting cases from modern warfare:

In the case of a strategic bomber (SB), a pilot bombs an enemy factory in order to destroy its productive capacity. But in doing this he foresees that he will kill innocent civilians who live nearby. Many of us see this kind of military action as much easier to justify than that in the Case of the Terror Bomber (TB), who deliberately kills innocent civilians in order to demoralize the enemy. Another pair of cases involves medicine: In both there is a shortage of resources for the investigation and proper treatment of a new, life-threatening disease. In the first scenario doctors decide to cope by selectively treating only those who can be cured most easily, leaving the more stubborn cases untreated. Call this the direction of resources case (DR). In the contrasting and intuitively more problematic example, doctors decide on a crash experimental program in which they deliberately leave the stubborn cases untreated in order to learn more about the nature of the disease. ...Guinea Pig Case (GP).

Another pair of medical examples is found in most discussions of Doctrine of Double Effect. In the Craniotomy Case (CC) a woman will die unless the head of the fetus she is trying to deliver is crushed. But the fetus may be safely removed if the mother is allowed to die. In the Hysterectomy Case (HC), a pregnant mother is allowed to die. In the Hysterectomy Case (HC), a pregnant mother's uterus is cancerous and must be removed if she is to be saved. This will, given the limits of available medical technology, kill the fetus. But if no operation is performed the mother will eventually die after giving birth to a healthy infant. (Darwell 195)

In the above case I obviously see that there is a significant difference between the cases. The fetus is not yet a person, and the mother has a right to seek defense from anything that is hazardous to her health. Quinn makes the distinctions that the doctor in Craniotomy Case does not intend to actually kill the fetus; he probably would be happy if it survived. In this case it is little difference between the Hysterectomy Case and the Craniotomy Case.

Quinn produces a projected...
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