Double Effect Theory

1401 Words6 Pages
The doctrine of double effect states that in certain situations, ceteris paribus, it’s permissible to perform any good action, even if it comes with a lethal consequence, as long as one does not directly intend the unfortunate outcome. In other words, to carry out a wrong action for the purpose of achieving a good effect is never permissible, but foreseeing an unavoidable harm as the necessary byproduct of your right action is permissible. With this moral theory your action produces two effects: the one aimed at, and the one effect foreseen but may not have been intended. One must be able to tell the difference between oblique intention and direct intention when assessing a moral dilemma. For example, in this case of the man Smith who is abducted…show more content…
For example, the Doctrine of Double Effect would say it is wrong to administer sedatives to a very ill patient cancer patient to end their life even though they are suffering and don’t want to live. On the other hand, it’s okay to give the patient sedatives for the purpose of relieving pain knowing it might kill them because if the death of the patient occurs as a foreseen side effect, it is not morally wrong. The doctrine of double effect cares more about the doctor’s intentions, but doesn’t seem to have any regard for the patients will, informed consent, and severity of their suffering, which are important personal variables to take into account. What would the doctrine of double effect say if after giving the painkillers to the patient he or she says I want to die wouldn’t that automatically make you guilty if the patient ends up dying? Can one still argue they are not intending to help one die? It seems that the DDE doesn’t present much clarity and can’t answer or take into account other variables. The DDE appears to be a very controversial theory and that it’s always okay to murder as long as it’s foreseen, but one may feel that it 's reckless to adopt that idea, and it’s better to assess situations by particular individual evidence to come to the correct moral

More about Double Effect Theory

Open Document