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International Philosophical Quarterly






Objections to the principle of double effect usually concern its first and second conditions (that the act not be evil in itself, and that the good effect and not the evil effect be intended). The difficulties often arise from a rejection of the idea that acts have a moral nature independent of context, and a tendency to interpret intention as purely psychological. This article argues that the “act itself” should be understood as the act-type, and suggests that examples of evil act-types are not hard to find. It argues that the notion of intention is involved in both conditions, but in different ways. It proposes that these different ways can be interestingly illuminated by Anscombe’s distinction between acting intentionally and acting with an intention.


Author Posting. © Foundation for International Philosophical Exchange, 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Foundation for International Philosophical Exchange for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in International Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 53, Number 2, June 2013,

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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