The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 69–83 | Cite as

The Closeness Problem for Double Effect: A Reply to Nelkin and Rickless

  • Joshua StuchlikEmail author

The best-known principle connecting intention and moral permissibility is the Principle of Double Effect (PDE). On its absolutist formulation the PDE says in part that it is always impermissible to execute the intention to kill or bring about serious harm to the innocent, though it may sometimes be permissible to intentionally do something where one foresees that one’s doing it will lead to death or harm, provided that one does not intend to bring the death or harm about. Some moral philosophers are also attracted by a non-absolutist version of the principle according to which, other things equal, it is more difficult to justify executing the intention to kill or bring about serious harm than it is to execute the intention to do something that one merely foresees will bring about death or harm. For my purposes the details of how the PDE is best specified can be left open. What will be important is the content that both the absolutist and non-absolutist versions of it share: that it is...


Constitution Relation Double Effect Birth Canal Bodily Harm Innocent Person 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of St. ThomasSt. PaulUSA

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