Judith Jarvis Thomson’s Loop Case is particularly significant in normative ethics because it questions the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect, according to which there is a significant difference between harm that is intended and harm that is merely foreseen and not intended. Recently, Frances Kamm has argued that what she calls the Doctrine of Triple Effect (DTE), which draws a distinction between acting because-of and acting in-order-to, can account for our judgment about the Loop Case. In this paper, I first argue that even if the distinction drawn by DTE can be sustained, it does not seem to apply to the Loop Case. Moreover, I question whether this distinction has any normative significance. The upshot is that I am skeptical that DTE can explain our judgment about the Loop Case.
Doctrine of Double Effect Doctrine of Triple Effect The Loop Case Trolley cases Frances Kamm’s ethics Intuitions
Kamm, F. M. (2007). Intricate ethics: Rights, responsibilities, and permissible harm. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Norcross, A. (2008). Off her trolley? Frances Kamm and the metaphysics of morality. Utilitas, 20(1), 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Otsuka, M. (2008). Double effect, triple effect and the trolley problem: Squaring the circle in looping cases. Utilitas, 20(1), 92–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richardson, H. (2008). Discerning subordination and inviolability: A comment on Kamm’s Intricate ethics. Utilitas, 20(1), 81–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar