Intention, foresight and ending life : a response to "The Double Effect effect" by Charles Foster, Jonathan Herring, Karen Melham and Tony Hope, (CQ 20(1))
220100 APPLIED ETHICS
220101 Bioethics (human and animal)
220106 Medical Ethics
end of life
test of credibility
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AbstractIn this paper I examine the recent arguments by Charles Foster, Jonathan Herring, Karen Melham and Tony Hope against the utility of the doctrine of double effect. One basis on which they reject the utility of the doctrine is their claim that it is notoriously difficult to apply what they identify as its 'core' component, namely, the distinction between intention and foresight. It is this contention that is the primarily focus of my article. I argue against this claim that the intention/foresight distinction remains a fundamental part of the law in those jurisdictions where intention remains an element of the offence of murder and that, accordingly, it is essential ro resolve the putative difficulties of applying the intention/foresight distinction so as to ensure the integrity of the law of murder. I argue that the main reasons advanced for the claim that the intention/foresight distinction is difficult to apply are ultimately unsustainable, and that the distinction is not as difficult to apply as the authors suggest.