The Doctrine of Double Effect

Topics: Morality, Patient, Ethics Pages: 4 (1315 words) Published: August 26, 2013
Case Assignment:
The doctrine of double effect says that the pursuit of good is not as acceptable if the harm that results is intended rather than merely foreseen (Lippert-Rasmussen, 2010). To some it is a nonabsolutist moral principle in which as long as significant good resulted from the action, it is allowable (Lippert-Ramussen, 2010). Scanlon believed that an act that leads to the death of an innocent person can never be justified by the good that results (Lippert-Ramussen, 2010). Scanlon's beliefs will be the focus of this assignment. Tasks:

1. Read the article by Lippert-Ramussen, "Scanlon on the Doctrine of Double Effect". After reading the article, respond to the questions listed below. 2. Define the Doctrine of Double Effect.
3. Provide a brief summary of Scanlon's view on the doctrine. 4. Discuss the scenario of either the drug shortage or organ shortage found in the article. 5. What is the scenario?
6. How does this demonstrate the Doctrine of Double Effect?
7. Do you agree with the action taken? If not, what could have been done? 8. What was Scanlon's view on the scenario?
Introduction to Ethics in the Healthcare Setting Doctrine of Double Effect
The Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) is utilized in the explanation of the permissibility of dealings and actions that result in impairment for example, death of a person, as a result of achieving some good at the end. This explains that it is sometimes acceptable to harm someone if the action will evoke some good at the end (Mclntyre 42). This reasoning was introduced by Thomas Aquinas but has developed and many versions of the same have erupted. Scanlon’s view of Double Effect

According to Scanlon, the motives and intentions do not bear any direct consequence tote permissibility of the action. He argues that the reasoning behind the traditional Doctrine of Double Effect is misplaced. He however points out that the motivation behind an action a person partakes in has a direct link to the “meaning”....

Cited: Itulua-Abumere, Flourish. "Ethical Issues in Health and Social Care Profession." Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 5.6 (2012): 14-18.
Lippert-Rasmussen, Kasper. "Scanlon on the Doctrine of Double Effect." Social Theory and Practice 36.4(2010):541-564
McIntyre, Alison, "Doctrine of Double Effect," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
Scanlon, Thomas. Moral Dimensions: Meaning, Permissibility and Blame. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Townsend, Tom. Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics: A Practical Guide for Professionals. Lebanon: University Press of New England, 2009.
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