Doctrine of Double Effect

1467 words 6 pages
Alecia Rhines
Doctrine of Double Effect
Trident University

What is the Doctrine of Double Effect?
The doctrine of double effect if often invoked to explain the permissibility of an action that causes a serious harm, such as the death of a human being, as a side effect of promoting good ends. It is claimed that sometimes it is permissible to cause such harm as a side effect of bringing about a good result even though it would not be permissible to cause such harm as a means to bringing about the same good end. The reasoning is summarized with the claim that sometimes it is permissible to bring about as merely foreseen side effect a harmful event that it would be impermissible to bring about intentionally (Uniacke 1984). It is not
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First, Scanlon version of the Doctrine of Double Effect is restricted to acts that actually do have a bad event (like death of an innocent person) as one of their side effects. Secondly, Scanlon the version of the DDE that Scanlon discusses is absolutist: it implies that acts that have an innocent person’s death as one of their intended effects are always wrong (Scanlon 2008).
Drug Shortage If the limited amount of drug that is available could be used either to save one patient or to save five others, it is permissible to give it to the five, even though the one will die. But it would not be permissible to withhold the same drug from the same person in order to save the five others by transplanting his or her organs into them after he or she is dead. According to the doctrine of double effect, such an action would be impermissible because in the letter case, unlike in the former, one withholds the drug from the one in order to bring about the death of the one, as a means to save the five (Scanlon 2008).
The Scenario on Drug Shortages There are five people in Room B, and one in Room A, all of whom have the same disease, and all of whom will die if not treated soon. There is enough medicine on hand to cure all five people in Room B, but since the person in Room A has a more advanced case,


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