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The Doctrine of Triple Effect and Why a Rational Agent Need Not Intend the Means to His End

Frances M. Kamm and John Harris
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes
Vol. 74 (2000), pp. 41-57
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Aristotelian Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4107051
Page Count: 17
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The Doctrine of Triple Effect and Why a Rational Agent Need Not Intend the Means to His End
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Abstract

Frances Kamm sets out to draw and make plausible distinctions that would show how and why it is, in some circumstances, permissible to kill some to save many more, but is not so in others. To do so she draws on a famous, and famously artificial, example of Judith Thomson, which illustrates the fact that people intutitively reject some instances of such killings but not others. The irrationality, implausibility and in many cases the self-defeating nature of such distinctions I had attempted to expose in my 'The Survival Lottery' over 25 years ago. I still think these distinctions irrational and implausible and I will try, in this response, to show why this remains the case and why doctrines of additional effects, to however many powers they are taken, remain unhelpful in ethics.

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