Ambiguity in Moral Choice by Richard A. McCormick

By Richard A. McCormick

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These we must, of course, also avoidbut conditionally. The condition under which we must avoid a relative disvalue is that it does not concur with a greater relative disvalue or an absolute one. , at the price of plunging one's family into destitution. " Thus when health officers quarantine one with typhoid fever, should we say that they intend only the prevention of its spread and "merely permit" the isolation of the sick individual? Hardly. The isolation is a necessary means to an end. And where means are concerned we speak of an intending will, a direct choice.

Another interesting discussion of the principle of double effect is that of Cornelius J. SP. 33 His Page 25 thought-structure is very close to that of Van der Marck. Van der Poel believes that the standard interpretation of the double effect has two weaknesses. First, it fragments the human action. For instance, in the tragic case where termination of pregnancy is the only way to save the mother's life, traditional casuistry has spoken of the "direct killing" of the child in order to save the mother.

It is not just any reason, meaningful or important as it may be. Rather a reason is commensurate if the value realizable here and now by measures involving physical evil in a premoral sense is not in the long run undermined and contradicted by these measures but supported and maximized. "19 To the objection that this amounts to proposing that a good end justifies an evil means, Knauer would reply that a means can be judged to be evil only if it is caused without commensurate reason. One cannot, in other words, isolate certain physical evils and say of them that they are, in all circumstances, moral evils.

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