Human Values pp 252-268 | Cite as

Intention, Foresight, and Success



My topic is the normative relevance of the intended/foreseen distinction. The normative relevance of this distinction appears most formally, and prominently, in the principle of double effect. This principle has been variously formulated, but in essentials — at least in its standard formulations — it holds that an action that foreseeably brings about evil can be permissible provided that the action is not intended to bring about that evil and that proportionate good is to be brought about through that action. Put another way: the principle of double effect proposes two distinct standards, one for intended evil and one for foreseen evil. It proposes that intentional evil is always forbidden; it proposes that foreseen evil is forbidden unless proportionate good is to be gained through the action.


Rational Agent True Belief Success Condition Double Effect Practical Rationality 
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© Mark C. Murphy 2004

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