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A defence of the doctrine of double effect.

Muir, Betty-Ann (2002) A defence of the doctrine of double effect. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The defence of the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) that we propose involves accepting the idea that there is a distinction to be drawn between making judgements about the moral worth of a given agent, who either does or does not perform a given act, and making judgement about the moral permissibility or impermissibility of a given act. What we propose is that the DDE is made up of two quite distinct doctrines - each with its own function to fulfil. We refer to these two doctrines as the Intentions Doctrine and the Means Doctrine. It is our claim that it is through the application of the Intentions Doctrine that we can determine the moral worth of a given agent, and it is through the application of the Means Doctrine that we can determine the moral permissibility or impermissibility of a given act. Given that our concern is with how we are to determine the moral permissibility or impermissibility of a given act, the focus of this thesis is directed towards the application of the Means Doctrine. This proposal stands in opposition to the way the DDE is traditionally presented. Traditionally the DDE has been presented as allowing the moral permissibility of an act that has two effects - one good (proportionately so) and one bad - provided that it is the good effect and not the bad effect that is intended by the agent who performs the act in question. It is our claim that it is the way in which the DDE has been presented that has left it open to the charge of delivering judgements that are either inconsistent with one another or are at odds with the way we intuitively think that a given case should be judged. This explains why the DDE is often regarded as being nothing more than a piece of sophistry. Our proposal is put forward as an alternative to those presented by Philippa Foot, Warren Quinn, Judith Jarvis Thomson and Frances Kamm.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Moral; Intention; Means
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.369858
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2019 09:19
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 09:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24965

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